Belfast Telegraph

Bank of England criticised for spending £3,000 on leaving party

The Bank of England has been criticised after splashing out more than £3,000 on a leaving party for former deputy governor Dame Minouche Shafik.

In the latest revelation over party spending at the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, it emerged that Dame Minouche was treated to a wine and canapes bash costing £3,346 to mark her departure at the end of February to become director of the London School of Economics (LSE).

She was also presented with a commemorative plaque - featuring words used in her speeches, memos she sent and messages published on the Bank's internal website - at a cost of £358 to the Bank.

The figures were released by the Bank following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Press Association.

It comes after recent FOI requests by PA have revealed expensive parties thrown by the Bank, including nearly £100,000 on its annual summer sports day last July, just weeks after the Brexit vote shock.

John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said details of Dame Minouche's party will "leave a bad taste in people's mouths".

He added: "At a time when households continue to struggle at least in part because of the policies set by the Bank of England, it seems callous to spend such large amounts on jollies and extravagant parting presents."

The Bank has also been under pressure over the ill-fated appointment of Dame Minouche's successor, Charlotte Hogg, who was forced to resign last month for failing to declare her brother works at Barclays.

A scathing verdict in a report by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee found her "professional competence falls short" of the standards required for the role after the conflict of interest breach.

Dame Minouche left in February after two-and-a-half years in the role to head up the LSE, starting in September.

The Bank is now recruiting once more for her replacement, although Ms Hogg is remaining in the role for up to three months to ensure a smooth handover.

More than 300 Bank colleagues and other guests were invited to Dame Minouche's leaving reception, which was held at the Bank's Court Room on January 31.

The central bank has come under fire in recent months for its lavish parties, having spent £99,035 on its annual Governors' Day party last July - complete with bumper cars, laser tag and face painting.

It also forked out out £3,324 on a retirement party for former rate-setter Martin Weale on July 26 last year, just a week before slashing interest rates amid fears over the Brexit vote fallout.

The Bank spent £13,000 on retirement parties for Lord Mervyn King when the former Bank governor retired in 2013, as well as more than £13,000 on his leaving presents, including £10,000 for a copy of a painting of the previous Bank boss and £597 on a silver napkin ring.

The Bank of England declined to comment.