The Ministry of Justice has been accused of wasting a 'colossal' amount of taxpayers’ money after spending more than £130m refurbishing an old office block for its new headquarters.

Opposition politicians and union leaders have expressed their astonishment at the cost of the project to create a new home for Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, and his staff.

The remodelling of the tower block, next to St James’s Park in London, cost £915 per square foot to complete – around 18 times more than a standard refurbishment would cost in the private sector.

In addition to the refurbishment costs, £2,745,000 was lavished on new furniture and fittings and a further £290,000 was spent on artwork.

Nick Herbert, the shadow justice secretary, said: 'A government that prioritised public safety might have used this money to prevent the early release of prisoners. Instead, they’ve spent a staggering sum on a new palace for the Lord Chancellor.'

Sunday Telegraph