BBC staff claimed 200,000 pounds for 'internal hospitality'

And, it included 2,000 pounds on biscuits and 32,500 pounds on flowers to decorate BBC's reception area, according to details obtained by the 'Sunday Express' under the Freedom of Information Act.

When questioned, a BBC spokesperson said: "It is not possible to separate how much of this was just for chocolate digestives. This includes internal business entertainment, leaving parties and staff entertainment.

"Tea, coffee and soft refreshments are provided only for meetings which last longer than two hours or when external people are present."

However, this policy flouts National Audit Office guidelines which say that biscuits should be limited only to "meetings to which external visitors are invited", according to the British newspaper.

The spokesman responded: "We have tightened our hospitality expenses policy to reduce costs, including removing the BBC contribution towards staff Christmas parties in 2010 and only making a contribution towards the cost of leaving parties when a member of staff has served the BBC for at least five years."

Emma Boon of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "The BBC is abusing the public's goodwill by throwing their money down the drain."

However, the BBC insisted: "We have halved running costs since 1999. We have cut the senior management pay bill by 14 per cent, towards our target of 25 per cent by December. We have frozen pay and suspended bonuses."

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