MINISTERS including Brentwood Council’s former leader have hit back at claims the department headed by Eric Pickles spent £76,000 on tea and biscuits.

Reports in national newspapers suggested the Department of Communities and Local Government spent the staggering amount on sweet treats last year.

A few months ago the Tory Brentwood and Ongar MP who is secretary of state for communities and local government denied his team spent an extra £10,000 on biscuits over a year.

However, officials from the department have said the figure is wrong and in fact they have reduced the food bill by 90 per cent in comparison to when Labour were in power.

Among those defending the DCLG includes local government minister Brandon Lewis who was leader of Brentwood Council from 2004 to 2009.

The MP for Great Yarmouth said: “Under Labour Ministers wined and dined at lavish restaurants around the world, arrogantly leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill.

“The champagne socialists treated themselves to meals in top notch establishments like the Cinnamon Club or the Wolseley at the taxpayers' expense.

“We have stopped this outrageous abuse of taxpayers' cash and reduced the eye-watering amount Labour were shelling out on food by nine tenths.”

As reported by the Weekly News, Mr Pickles vehermently denied the department’s expenditure on biscuits rose from £30,000 to £40,000.

After our story appeared on the front page of the Weekly News on November 14, the story went viral on social media and even ended up on Have I Got News For You.