A number of posts on Facebook have made claims about Home Office payments to a company called “Beautiful Brows Limited”, in light of an article from Byline Times. The article looked at expenses paid for on the Home Office’s procurement cards in 2020.
Some posts claim that “£77,269” was spent on “eyebrows” for the Home Secretary personally.
Others claim a company which received this money was dissolved in 2018, despite the fact that the purchase was made in March 2020, and suggest this inconsistency shows that the money was improperly spent or is evidence of money laundering. Posts on Instagram and Twitter have made similar claims too.
So what really happened?
The Home Office has said in a series of tweets that the expenses were not Priti Patel’s, but were department-wide. It also said money wasn’t spent on beauty products, but on PPE.
As for the accusations of paying a dissolved company, Home Office data shows that in March 2020, six payments worth £52,594 were made to “Beautiful Brows” and two payments worth £24,675.84 were made to “Global Beauty Products”, totalling the £77,269 referred to in the Byline Times article.
Companies House shows that Global Beauty Products Limited and Beautiful Brows Limited are both registered to the same Liverpool address, and both share a director. While Beautiful Brows Limited was dissolved on 10 July 2018, Global Beauty Products Limited is still listed as active.
The Home Office confirmed to Full Fact that Beautiful Brows was the brand but the overarching trading company is called Global Beauty Products. It also said that the name on the invoice reflects how the merchant has set up its account details with its bank.
A website named “Beautiful Brows and Lashes Professional” sells PPE as well as lash and eyebrow service paraphernalia and gives its contact details as “Global Beauty Products Limited”. We also asked Beautiful Brows and Lashes Professional for comment but it did not respond.
Government procurement cards are meant for relatively low value purchases outside of contracts the department has for goods and services. The Home Office regularly publishes expenditure on the cards over £500.