Chancellor George Osborne has come under fire for spending £4,300 on a new red box to hold up for the cameras on Budget day.
MP Tom Watson (Lab West Bromwich East) accused him of wasting taxpayers’ money as public services are forced to make dramatic cuts.
West Midlands Police is cutting spending by £120 million over four years while Birmingham City Council has announced budget cuts of £212 million.
Mr Osborne used a new dispatch box for the Budget earlier this month after the old box, which is 150 years old, was finally retired.
Traditionally, the Chancellor uses the red box to carry the official Budget documents and holds it up to be photographed on the steps of 11 Downing Street before making their speech in the Commons.
But the National Archives, the official body responsible for preserving Government records, recommended that the old red box should be placed into storage because it is “in an advanced state of deterioration and disrepair”.
A replacement was hand-made using traditional techniques and materials by a team of experts including carpenters, bookbinders, and engravers.
While the original red box was marked with the initials VR, in reference to Queen Victoria, the new one is marked ER II.
Mr Watson questioned the cost in an official House of Commons motion. He said: “The Chancellor of the Exchequer could have procured a cheaper alternative to the elaborate box he has chosen.”