1. ITV Report

Government spent over £1m on Olympic and Paralympic tickets

Corporate no-shows were blamed for many of the empty seats at early Olympics events. Photo: Sue Saville for ITV News

Taxpayers forked out over £1m for Olympic and Paralympic tickets that went to politicians, corporate guests, foreign dignitaries and other guests, data released by the Government showed today.

In total, the Government bought 8,641 tickets at a cost of £1,174,421.

Some 10.99 million tickets were sold over the course of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Corporate guests included representatives of Coca Cola, Samsung, Microsoft, Apple, Disney, Etihad Airways, Nestle, and Centrica.

A Saudi prince, American ambassadors and a Danish minister were among the foreign dignitaries whose tickets were paid for by the UK Government.

And it provided 60 Olympic tickets for coalition ministers, the list shows.

Lord Sassoon, a former Treasury minister, received the most expensive ticket among his colleagues - a £725 seat at the athletics.

Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt was among the most prolific attendees - his six tickets cost a total of £650.

Charities and volunteers were also given tickets.

In a written ministerial statement, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:

"All invitations were issued against criteria agreed by the Cabinet Secretary in May 2012.

"These were: encouraging growth, encouraging health and sports participation, encouraging community engagement and volunteering."

The full list of ticket recipients can be viewed here.

Website crashes and availability well outstripped by demand caused anger among Britons keen to attend their home Games.

This was heightened by the sight of empty seats at many early Olympic events.

London mayor Boris Johnson blamed unclaimed places on no-shows from corporate guests and 'bureaucrats'.