Matt Hancock has used hundreds of pounds of taxpayers’ money on a platform that grows brand’s social media accounts.
According to expenses data, the British Health Secretary has made five separate claims totalling £828.91 for software and newsletters provided by Sprout Social, since March 2020.
Its website says Sprout Social “makes it easy to manage your social media and create meaningful relationships with your customers”. It adds it integrates different platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn and provides analytics to its users to help them measure the effectiveness of their content.
Brands that have used the American company include clothing giants River Island and Gymshark as well as Casio and several American universities.
Hancock claimed expenses for four editions of the company’s newsletter in March, April, May and June 2020. In August 2020, he made a £341.82 claim for the software itself. It is not clear what social media accounts the software has been used for.
It is not the first time the Health Secretary has expressed an interest in social media. In 2018, while culture secretary, he launched his own smartphone app, featuring picture galleries and videos of the West Suffolk MP, as well as updates on his activities.
Sprout Social plans are priced between £72 and £180 a month, its website says.
A spokesperson for Matt Hancock said: “Mr Hancock needs to communicate with his constituents as effectively as possible, including on social media. All expenditure is within the rules and transparently declared.”