By Daniel Hunter

As Britain gears up for Christmas party season, data from Worldpay has revealed how corporate cards will be used to spread Christmas cheer to the tune of £18.5 million over the coming fortnight.

According to Worldpay, Britain’s leading payment processing company, corporate card spending on food, booze and taxis could shoot up by 84% compared to an average fortnight in autumn, as UK businesses reward staff, entertain clients and generally let their hair down at the end of the year.

Last year employees in London put more than £10 million on their company cards, 82% higher than the amount spent in an average fortnight, and Worldpay expects that figure to go up again this year. Spending in Liverpool topped £1.6 million over the festive fortnight, doubling the amount employees in neighbouring Manchester put onto their company cards. But it is in Leeds and Northern Ireland where companies raise their game the most at Christmas with 163% and 168% rises in corporate card spending respectively compared to the average two-week period in autumn.

Restaurants are the prime beneficiaries from company generosity, accounting for nearly £10 million of the total spend analysed by Worldpay, as the nation’s workers enjoy a dress rehearsal of turkey, pigs in blankets and Christmas pudding ahead of the main event. Pubs also benefited to the tune of more than £3 million, while caterers and off-licenses also saw a significant rise in takings.

Dave Hobday, Managing Director of Worldpay UK, said: “Whether it’s watching your boss dance to Abba, or having that heart-to-heart with a colleague you’ll forget all about in the morning, work parties and entertaining are as much of a tradition at Christmas as mulled wine and mince pies.

“This boost in spending we see in the run-up to Christmas is also great for the economy with the nation’s bars, restaurants, caterers and taxi firms all benefiting generously during the season of goodwill.”

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