'Why was £215k in furlough cash given to one drag act called Le Gateau Chocolat?'

23 October 2020, 08:46

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This is the moment Nick Ferrari challenged the Chief Secretary to the Treasury over £215,000 in furlough payments to drag act Le Gateau Chocolat.

Speaking to Stephen Barclay about the furlough scheme, LBC's Nick Ferrari pointed out that money had been made available to the theatre and arts industry.

Adding that one recipient is a "drag act called Le Gateau Chocolat," who "has been given £215,000. meanwhile, the 30 performers of Zippo's Circus get £600,000."

Nick challenged the Treasury boss, asking "why does one act qualify for almost a quarter of a million pounds?"

Mr Barclay said the money was allocated from the Treasury to the Arts Council who have been administering the scheme.

But Nick pointed out his question had not been answered, "let's be candid with one another, we're both grown men. I've asked you why one act, I don't expect you to know if this act Le Gateau Chocolat, last turnover submitted to Companies House was £107,000 for the year ending 2018."

"He's in receipt of £215,000 there are many theatres who have had not a penny, there are comedy clubs that are closing, and the Zippo's Circus with 30 employees gets £600,000."

Nick said to Mr Barclay, "let's not talk about all the money that's been made available, let's just answer who is in charge of giving that amount of money to one act?"

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury replied it was "the Arts Council England who allocate the scheme."

Nick questioned if the Treasury "monitor" the scheme, asking if he was happy that one act walked away with "a quarter of a million quid?"

When asked how he reacts to the example Nick Ferrari had given him Mr Barclay said it "sounds odd" adding he would "want to put the question to the Arts Council and those administering the scheme to better understand what has happened."

The exchange comes on the day a report from the National Audit Office, which praised civil servants for pushing through employment support schemes at high speed, said that, in their haste, they might have left some doors open for fraudsters.

The report added criminal gangs have syphoned off nearly £2 billion in taxpayer funds allocated to help businesses and furloughed workers.

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Christmas saved but pig farmers at their “wit’s end” over butcher shortage

Christmas saved but pig farmers at their 'wit’s end' over butcher shortage

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Transport Secretary savages 'pathetic and dangerous' road blocking eco mob

The Shadow International Trade Secretary was speaking to Nick Ferrari

Emily Thornberry calls for 'a bit of grown-up politics' in Brexit negotiations

Nick Ferrari gave his take on the issue

'Why the hell are we calling off the fireworks? Why is the Mayor such a killjoy?'

The Tory Party Chair was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'We are very sorry': Tory Party Chair apologises after damning Covid report

The caller was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'Why isn't there a student loan scheme to train HGV drivers?' caller asks

Nick Ferrari quizzed the Cabinet Office minister

Nick Ferrari savages minister who has not read damning Covid report

The Security Minister was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Minister denies Business Secretary lied about extra support for firms amid energy crisis

The steel industry chief was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'PM needs to bang heads together' to avoid steel sector crisis, industry boss says

Nick Ferrari won a prestigious journalism award

Nick Ferrari “at the top of his game” as he picks up prestigious award for LBC journalism

The Thomas Cook CEO was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Changes to travel rules are 'good news' for holidaymakers, but more clarity needed

The broadcaster was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Andrew Neil's withering take on Boris Johnsons party conference speech

Dominic Raab defended the government's Universal Credit cut

Dominic Raab denies £20 UC cut will force families into stark 'heat or eat' choice

'Jacob Rees-Mogg, are you scum?': Nick Ferrari interviews the Commons Leader

'Jacob Rees-Mogg, are you scum?': Nick Ferrari interviews the Commons Leader

Watch In Full | Nick Ferrari quizzes Boris Johnson at the Tory Party conference

Watch In Full | Nick Ferrari interviews Boris Johnson

The PM was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'Get back to work or lose out': PM urges Brits to get back to the office