War on Waste: Woke Whitehall


Wasting taxpayers’ money on ‘woke’ campaigns is not a new phenomena, with civil servants in the past being sent on diversity training at a cost of £2,000 per person, including ‘awareness workshops’.[1] But mandarins should take great care not to let the pursuit of sensitive social justice causes see money spent poorly, paying over the odds for things that are not required for officials to do their jobs.

Whitehall departments continue to misuse taxpayers’ cash in this way, having spent more than £65,000 installing gender-neutral toilets, and purchasing LGBTQ lanyards, stationery and flags. Media reports have suggested that civil service staff do not even want to use the gender neutral loos.[2] Whether this be in the Ministry of Defence where almost £15,000 was spent on 13 toilets,[3] or the Home Office where the conversion costs were more than £36,000 for 10 toilets,[4] bureaucrats must take more care before blowing their budgets on right-on social causes.


Click here to read the research paper


Key findings

  • Between 2013-14 and 2018-19, £57,467 was spent by at least three government departments to create gender-neutral toilets.

  • The department with the largest costs associated with creating gender-neutral toilets was the Home Office spending £36,963, with more than £8,000 spent on providing signage for the toilets.

  • The department that created the most gender-neutral toilets between 2013-14 and 2018-19 was the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which built 30.

  • £6,342 was spent by nine departments on LGBT+ lanyards. The cost per LGBT+ lanyard from the departments who responded ranged from £3.53 to £0.49. However, a plain lanyard costs from as little as £0.13.[5]

  • The Department for Work and Pensions spent the most on LGBT+ lanyards with a total cost of £2,391. However, the department did not provide the number of lanyards this expenditure procured.

  • More than £1,533 was spent by eight departments on purchasing LGBT+ flags between 2014-15 and 2018-19.

  • The Cabinet Office and 10 Downing Street own the most LGBT+ flags, possessing four, compared to only three St. George’s flags.

Click here to read the research paper



[1] Lea, M., Anger after civil servants sent to lavish £2,000 retreat for ‘irrelevant diversity training’, Mail Online, 6 January

2009, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1106462/Anger-civil-servants-sent-lavish-2-000-retreat-irrelevent-diversity

training.html, (accessed 3 January 2019).

[2] Wooding, D., Defence chiefs blow £15,000 of taxpayers’ money on gender-neutral loos that hardly anybody wants to use, The Sun, 29 December 2019.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Vine, S, Nothing sums up the madness of the modern world better than the Home Office's gender neutral loos, Daily Mail, 17 August 2018.

[5] Lanyards Tomorrow, Lanyards ID Neck Strap with Loop Clip, www.lanyardstomorrow.co.uk/en/lanyards-id-neck-strap

with-loop-clip.html#.XlU4fmiTKM9, (accessed 25 February 2020).

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