HOME Office staff who spent £900 at an Oxford pub in a single day were visiting the city on a 'training exercise', it is understood.

Details of the Government team's spending at the pub came to light last week in reporting by the Byline Times, a news website.

Among the public spending records was £900 spent at the Magdalen Arms on Iffley Road in February 2020, which was used for a training day according to the Home Office.

This was listed among other uses by departmental staff of their procurement card, a kind of business credit card, for any expenses above £500.

There was also £3,952.76 spent in February at ‘Pollyana Restaurant’ – an ‘overseas venue’ according to the Home Office, and a further £3,774.29 in March.

The expenses also included £77,269.40 spent with SP Beautiful Brows, a company which appears to be owned by a larger firm called Global Beauty Products, in March.

Also read: The Oxford Metro plans backed by rail campaign group

A further £30,000 was spent with Global Beauty Products Limited in April.

The firm appears to sell personal protective equipment alongside its cosmetic products.

Some on social media used the revelations to lampoon the Home Secretary Priti Patel.

However a spokesman said: “It is completely wrong to claim these are the Home Secretary’s expenses. They are Home Office wide expenses, which are scrutinised to ensure every pound of taxpayer money is spent in the most effective way.

“We bought hand sanitiser from beauty companies in the height of the pandemic, when it was not possible to buy it elsewhere to keep our front line staff safe.”

They added: “When selecting training, we ensure they are the most cost effective and appropriate company available at the time.”

The Magdalen Arms was contacted for a comment.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on news@nqo.com or 01865 425 445.