SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: You've spent the year watching every penny, now hear how the public sector has squandered £5.6bn of taxpayer cash on everything from luxury travel to lavish bonuses, and fine dining | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: You've spent the year watching every penny, now hear how the public sector has squandered £5.6bn of taxpayer cash on everything from luxury travel to lavish bonuses, and fine dining

Our probe into the state sector gravy train exposed how:

  • Whitehall mandarins banked at least £42 million in bonuses last year, and taxpayers stumped up £81 million for trade union representatives to take time off work;
  • Thousands were spent on first-class flights at the Treasury;
  • Millions were earmarked for government staff to work from home, including the purchase of designer furniture;
  • Hipster takeaways worth a total of £50,000 were ferried to the health department during lockdown;
  • Thousands were spent on luxury restaurants, steakhouses and even on a day at the zoo;
  • Almost £500,000 was shelled out on an art collection the public never sees.

    Meg Hillier, chairman of the public accounts committee, said: 'There is no magic money pot – this is taxpayers' money that's being spent at a time when the low-paid and hard-working people have seen a massive cut in income or lost their livelihood."

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