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UK Government Spends $35,000 on Wine Amid Pandemic

The UK government reportedly spent close to $35,000 of taxpayers’ money on wine during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information comes from a bi-annual report published by the British government’s Foreign Office and reported by Wales Online.

The report divulged that the government spent £27,000 ($34,419) on premium bottles for its wine cellar during the pandemic. The purchase included 516 bottles of red Bordeaux wines at approximately $36 each, along with 636 bottles of English and Welsh sparkling wines, which included 180 magnums. Additionally, the government also bought 18 bottles of gin and four bottles of whisky and liqueurs.

Interestingly, the consumption of these wines and spirits saw a decline during the pandemic. From 2020 to 2021, 130 bottles were consumed, followed by 1,303 bottles the next year. These numbers are significantly lower than the 2019 to 2020 period when 3,300 bottles were consumed by government officials.

Before the pandemic, the government wine cellar, which dates back to 1908, was self-financed. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, sales weren’t possible, leading to the use of taxpayer funds.

This significant expenditure has sparked criticism, especially considering the financial hardships many faced due to the pandemic. Officials have also questioned the repeated delays in releasing the report, initially scheduled for early 2023, but only published this week.

Despite the backlash, Foreign Officer Minister Andrew Mitchell defended the spending, stating that all government-organized events during the pandemic strictly adhered to COVID-19 restrictions.

 

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