Taxpayers should be given an urgent explanation over why their funds were “wasted” on a “high-priced spin suite”, the Taxpayers’ Alliance has said.
Last night it was revealed that Downing Street has scrapped plans for White House-style press conferences despite more than £2.6 million having already been spent on the venue.
The room in No 9 has been kitted out with cameras and rows of chairs for journalists, and the Prime Minister’s press secretary Allegra Stratton was due to field questions from political correspondents.
But it is understood Boris Johnson has axed plans for daily televised media briefings and the studio will be used for ministerial press conferences, as first reported by The Times.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told PoliticsHome: “Without an urgent explanation, taxpayers will be furious that their funds were wasted on the government’s high-priced spin suite.”
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has also hit out at the U-turn, saying the money used on the TV set could have gone towards nurses’ pay rises instead.
She said: “Instead of wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on a pointless vanity project the Prime Minister should have used the money to give our NHS heroes a pay rise.”
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden defended the cost during his media rounds this morning.
He said: “This was just about building a modern press facility.
“It won’t just be used by this Government, it will be used by future governments, it’s very similar to what many governments around the world have.
“So it’s not wasted money in that sense, it is just a normal press facility for Government.”