Birmingham Chamber of Commerce & Industry has defended the expense of taking most of its staff on a business away-day to Edgbaston Cricket Club earlier this week.

Spokesman John Lamb insisted the event was all about customer service.

"This was not a jolly, it is not as if we took off to a health farm or went white water rafting," he charged.

It was an opportunity to discuss "what the chamber needs to do to serve its members properly". New chief executive Jerry Blackett was keen to make the chamber "more commercially minded".