The Transport Secretary Philip Hammond spent nearly £5,000 of his department's money on recovering four sofas and a chair in his ministerial office, it was revealed yesterday.
Mr Hammond's spending is part of a total bill of almost £50,000 for ministerial office refits since the Coalition came to power. Embarrassingly, it comes shortly after Mr Hammond used lack of resources to defend recent high rail-fare increases.
"Due to the scale of the deficit, investments (in railways) would simply have not been possible without the difficult decision we have made to increase rail fares," he said. He added that it would have been "irresponsible" not to consider chargingmore.
Government figures showed Mr Hammond's department spent £4,878 on the work.
A transport department spokesman said the furniture needed to be refurbished "as it was at least a decade old" and it was "cheaper to re-upholster than (to) replace."