MAP: The Department for Education’s spend across London hotels in 2012/13.
The Department for Education spent more than £1m of taxpayers’ money on hotel rooms for staff last year, including at 4* hotels in the heart of London.
The biggest spend was at the 4* Copthorne Tara Hotel in Kensington where £215,240.37 was spent on rooms. A room booked one month in advance can cost £117 per night. The hotel also offers a gym for guests and those in the “Club” rooms are offered free breakfast, internet and bath robes.
Conservative MP Priti Patel asked Mr Gove for the amount spent on hotels by his department for the year 2012/13 in a parliamentary question. The response also revealed the 20 hotels in the UK where the most was spent.
In total 1,464 staff from the department stayed in hotels within the UK last year and 52 officials stayed in hotels outside the UK, with the cost being £1,004,707.53.
Mr Gove’s response to the question did not include a breakdown of the cost of staying in hotels abroad.
Figures from a Freedom of Information request show spending on hotels by the department has doubled compared to 2011/10 when a total of £419,326 was spent, which included £6,714 on international hotels.
However in 2008/09 the cost of hotels stood at £1,193,461, more than in recent years.
A Department for Education spokesperson said that the hotel cost would be reduced in coming years as it closes six of its offices around the country. The six regional offices which are due to be shut are in: Darlington, Runcorn, Bristol, Guildford, Histon and Nottingham.
Staff who booked hotels in Doncaster amounted for the 7th highest cost of hotels in the last financial year when they spent £29,222.58 at the Bannatyne Hotel.
Of those hotels where the Department for Education spent the most money last year 13 of the 20 were in London amounting for £423,893, almost half of the entire spend on hotels in the year.
Staff visiting Coventry spent £150,000 on two hotels in the city, including £96,681.18 at the Premier Inn in the city centre and £60,081.11 at the Ramada hotel which is a 10 minute walk from the city’s train station.
The second highest hotel spend in London was at the Kensington Close hotel, just round the corner from the Copthorn Tara Hotel, where more than £40,000 was spent.
A spokesperson for the department said: “Hotel costs are only incurred when absolutely necessary for officials travelling between the department’s different sites.”
“We are closing six of our twelve sites over the next five years, saving the taxpayer millions and reducing the need for extra costs such as hotel and travel expenses.”