New Research: British Council's multi-million pound credit card spending revealed

January 06, 2012 12:19 AM

The British Council is the UK's international cultural relations body sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As part of our campaign for better transparency and accountability in Quango spending the TaxPayers' Alliance can reveal the full credit card spending of the British Council for the last two years.

Click here for the full breakdown of spending
(9MB Excel file)


Click here for the complete press release


The key findings are:

  • In the last two financial years the British Council has spent a total of £6.7 million on its credit cards

  • Between 2009-10 and 2010-11 the British Council spent nearly £2 million on hotel bills.

  • Staff and guests of the British Council enjoyed stays at 5 star hotels such as the Renaissance Hotel in Hong Kong, the Caesar Park in Rio De Janeiro and the Park Hyatt in Dubai.

  • During the same period the Council spent £1,085,206 on flights and £407,496 on restaurants bills.

  • The British council's expenditure on hotels increased by £437,424 while spending on flights rose by £183,567 and restaurants by £152,402 between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

  • Over £30,000 was spent at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi, which is described as “best luxury hotel in India”.

  • In the hotel’s restaurant the Spice Route, two credit card bills cost £1,376. The restaurant is famous for “having one of the most outstanding restaurant wine lists in the world”

  • Last year the British council purchased flights worth £32,845 in Belgium alone. The British Council was recently criticised for spending money on a campaign promoting EU foreign policy and culture which it ran from its Brussels office.

  • Other spending included £4,844 on the London Eye, £1,056 on a Spa-Salon in Russia, £142 on a haircut and £80 on the Yellow Duckmarine (duck tours on the Thames). The credit card was also used for items such as cinema trips, iTunes purchases and at the Body Shop.


Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"Taxpayers will be worried that they are being asked to support British Council bureaucrats living the high life abroad while they have to tighten their belts at home. Of course the organisation's job is to promote Britain abroad which means it will incur travel and accommodation costs but staff need to keep these to a minimum. They need to explain many of the items bought with their credit cards which look extravagant, like the huge amounts spent at upmarket hotels. The British Council's New Year's resolution should be to cut these bills and be more transparent about how they spend taxpayers' cash."


Click here for the full breakdown of spending
(9MB Excel file)


Click here for the complete press release

The British Council is the UK's international cultural relations body sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As part of our campaign for better transparency and accountability in Quango spending the TaxPayers' Alliance can reveal the full credit card spending of the British Council for the last two years.

Click here for the full breakdown of spending
(9MB Excel file)


Click here for the complete press release


The key findings are:

  • In the last two financial years the British Council has spent a total of £6.7 million on its credit cards

  • Between 2009-10 and 2010-11 the British Council spent nearly £2 million on hotel bills.

  • Staff and guests of the British Council enjoyed stays at 5 star hotels such as the Renaissance Hotel in Hong Kong, the Caesar Park in Rio De Janeiro and the Park Hyatt in Dubai.

  • During the same period the Council spent £1,085,206 on flights and £407,496 on restaurants bills.

  • The British council's expenditure on hotels increased by £437,424 while spending on flights rose by £183,567 and restaurants by £152,402 between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

  • Over £30,000 was spent at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi, which is described as “best luxury hotel in India”.

  • In the hotel’s restaurant the Spice Route, two credit card bills cost £1,376. The restaurant is famous for “having one of the most outstanding restaurant wine lists in the world”

  • Last year the British council purchased flights worth £32,845 in Belgium alone. The British Council was recently criticised for spending money on a campaign promoting EU foreign policy and culture which it ran from its Brussels office.

  • Other spending included £4,844 on the London Eye, £1,056 on a Spa-Salon in Russia, £142 on a haircut and £80 on the Yellow Duckmarine (duck tours on the Thames). The credit card was also used for items such as cinema trips, iTunes purchases and at the Body Shop.


Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"Taxpayers will be worried that they are being asked to support British Council bureaucrats living the high life abroad while they have to tighten their belts at home. Of course the organisation's job is to promote Britain abroad which means it will incur travel and accommodation costs but staff need to keep these to a minimum. They need to explain many of the items bought with their credit cards which look extravagant, like the huge amounts spent at upmarket hotels. The British Council's New Year's resolution should be to cut these bills and be more transparent about how they spend taxpayers' cash."


Click here for the full breakdown of spending
(9MB Excel file)


Click here for the complete press release

Latest Blogs: