£119,000 bill for DH refreshments
The Department of Health (DH) has spent £119,808 on providing refreshments at meetings and while hosting visitors since January, parliamentary figures show.
But Conservative health minister Dr Daniel Poulter said spending on refreshments has fallen on average by more than £60,000 a month since the final 12 months of the last Labour administration.
In 2009/10, DH officials spent on average £78,131.55 a month compared to £15,705.50 a month in the first two months of 2013/14.
The figures emerged following a parliamentary question from shadow health minister Diane Abbott in which she asked for the department's spending since January 2013.
Dr Poulter replied: "The department's policy is not to provide refreshments for internal meetings.
"These costs include the provision of refreshments for external meetings and visitors hosted in the department's buildings. The department has spent £119,808 (including VAT) on these types of refreshments since January 2013."