The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has spent over £600,000 on Christmas parties since the beginning of the credit crunch.
Britain’s financial regulator, which is the coalition government plans to break up, was forced to reveal details of its lavish festive celebrations under the Freedom of Information Act provoking fury from consumer groups and politicians.
The FSA has spent some £1.2 million on Christmas parties since 2004.
The extravagant spending reached a peak in the early days of the crisis in 2007 when the regulator spent over £270,000 on staff entertainment at a time when questions where starting to be asked as to how it could have allowed the crisis to develop.
The partying continued in 2008 as the credit crunch began to take hold in earnest with £228,461 spent on staff junkets. The true cost could be much higher as the figures released do not include expenditure on travel and accommodation for the regulator’s hard-partying employees.
When recession gripped the country in 2009 the FSA showed relative restraint and kept its staff entertainment budget down to a comparatively modest £107,814.
Charlotte Linacre, campaign manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “It is appalling that the FSA was living the high life in the middle of the financial crisis, when their failure was one reason the crisis was so severe.
“Blowing almost a quarter of a million pounds on their own Christmas party is shocking and their levy on companies and entrepreneurs should not be spent so extravagantly.
‘They are supported by what they treat as a bottomless pit of money but the heavier the burden they put on businesses becomes, the more companies will consider relocating their activities outside the UK.”
Totally Money (12 December 2010)