Bank of England under fire over summer party spending
The Bank of England spent almost £100,000 of taxpayers' money on its annual summer party, just weeks after the Brexit vote and as the country grappled with the fallout of the referendum , it has been revealed.
Just two weeks after the UK's decision to leave the European Union, g overnor Mark Carney and around 2,500 Bank staff, policymakers and their families partied at its annual summer sports day, at a cost of £99,035 to the public purse.
The Bank insisted it "carefully budgeted" for the Governors' Day jolly on July 10 at its sports ground in Roehampton, south west London.
But details of its party spending come at an already difficult time for the Bank, with Mr Carney under political fire amid complaints he went too far in warning of the economic dangers of Brexit in order to bolster Remain during the referendum campaign.
Mr Carney has faced calls to resign after the Bank controversially warned Brexit could tip the UK into recession ahead of the vote, only to have rowed back on its gloomy predictions - most recently upgrading its forecasts for growth this year and next.
Costs of the Bank's summer party can be revealed following a Freedom of Information request by the Press Association.
The Bank said it spent more than £94,500 excluding VAT on food, entertainment and the venue for the summer event, with nearly another £4,500 on "other" costs.
The TaxPayers' Alliance branded revelations over the Bank's summer party as a "huge slap in the face to all those who have struggled under the Bank of England's policies".
Chief executive John O'Connell said: "Not only have savers had very little to celebrate over the last eight years because of rock bottom interest rates, but many will rightly be angry that staff are then spending huge sums of money on lavish parties for themselves.
"It would be right to consider these sensitivities when planning any future function."
The Bank said the Governors' Day is a "long-held tradition that is open to all employees - including members of the Monetary Policy Committee - including their families, with the aim of recognising their hard work and dedication".
It added: "The annual event is an important one for all Bank employees and the Bank strongly believes that this carefully budgeted event is worthwhile."
The Bank spent similar amounts on its Governors' Day in the previous two years, at £99,465 and £99,288 in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
It also confirmed that just under £2,500 was raised for charity at this year's event - for The Lily Foundation and The Myotubular Trust - which was matched by the Bank.
Canadian Mr Carney has revamped the annual fete since taking over from predecessor Lord King, ditching the traditional cricket match in 2014 with a game of rounders to be more inclusive, while also hiring a bouncy castle.