PRISON chiefs were slammed last night for wasting millions of pounds pampering Britain’s lags.
Figures obtained yesterday revealed the Ministry of Justice signed off £4.3million of contracts to private firms.
These included nearly £1m on minicab firms to ferry inmates and staff between jails around the UK.
More than £700,000 was blown on a troupe of actors hired to try to rehabilitate prisoners through role play to help them to get jobs. Three prisons ran up an £84,000 bill between them making sure convicts got nice haircuts.
Around £60,000 was spent bringing in cleaners at East Midlands jails to mop up blood and dirt.
Invoices also showed the cost of everyday items, such as £100,000 on toothbrushes and even £23,000 on whistles for guards.
The figures were published by the ministry in contracts signed off last year. They emerged as Chancellor George Osborne warned Cabinet colleagues to slash spending ahead of another round of budget cuts.
He already reduced the department’s budget from £9billion at the start of the Coalition Government to £6.8bn.
Matthew Sinclair, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers will be taken aback by the amount of their money that is being spent on these prison contracts.
“It’s shocking that at a time when departments are reducing costs, this massive amount is being spent on things like minicab fares.
“The ministry must look closely at exactly where taxpayers’ cash is going.”
Tory MP Priti Patel said last night: “In an age of austerity this example of profligate waste shows the extent to which the Ministry of Justice needs to get a grip on the amount it is spending.
“These items need to be first on the list for the spending review to see where savings can be made.
“The public will be appalled at the waste.”