Two clairvoyants have been awarded a £4,500 government grant to set up a school for psychics. Paul and Deborah Rees had their palms crossed with taxpayers' silver after applying for funding through a Department for Work and Pensions job creation scheme. The couple's Accolade Academy of Psychic and Mediumistic Studies aims to train people to contact 'the other side'.Yesterday critics branded the award a 'disgrace' and said public money should not be spent on 'hocus pocus' business ideas at a time when thousands are losing their jobs. But Mr Rees, 40, and his wife, 37,defended the public funding.Mr Rees said: 'People who feel their tax money has been wasted should remember that if they'd lost a child they would go to a medium to get peace that their loved one has passed safely and is in a better place.
'Our job is to provide substantial evidence to bring ease to people's grieving.' The couple, who have been working as mediums for five years, admitted they were surprised to get the Want2Work grant aimed at setting up new businesses. Mr Rees, a father-of-two who worked as an upholsterer for 17 years, said: 'They hadn't invested in psychics before so we really had to prove ourselves.' The couple run the £65 workshops from their home in Bridgend, South Wales, and say the cash will be spent on printing, advertising and website costs. But Conservative Welsh Assembly member Jonathan Morgan said: 'It is an utter disgrace. The peopleadministering the scheme should be disciplined for allowing this project to get public funding - and the money should be recouped.' Mark Wallace, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'The last thing our money should be spent on is this kind of hocus pocus. 'At a time when people who are alive are losing their jobs, it's absurd that money is being spent trying to contact the other side.' Welsh Assembly chiefs have now launched an internal investigation into the funding of the psychic school. A DWP spokesman said of the £21million Want2Work scheme, aimed at getting 200,000 people back into work: 'We give real help to anyone who loses their job to get back into work as quickly as possible.'