Sunday, 5 June 2011

Whitehall’s £25 million on taxpayer funded credit cards


The TaxPayers’ Alliance reveals that spendaholic civil servants in Whitehall put a whopping £25 million on credit cards last year. Officials across 18 Government departments treated themselves to expensive meals and stayed in luxurious hotels at taxpayers’ expense.

The key findings in the research reported this morning in the Daily Telegraph, are:

  • £25 million was spent on credit cards
  • There are more than 140,000 government credit cards, known as procurement cards, in circulation across all departments and quangos.
  • Civil servants have spent more than £60,000 dining at exclusive restaurants, including the Cinnamon Club in Westminster and Quo Vadis, a private dining and members club in Soho.
  • Spending has included stays in luxury hotels and resorts including the five star Paradise Hotel and Casino in South Korea and the Shangri La in Sydney, Australia.

A full spreadsheet is available here.

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Spending on credit cards has got way out of hand. We need more transparency and accountability and fewer civil servants running up extravagant bills and leaving them to taxpayers. Transparency is vital so that the spending can be properly scrutinised, and to stop a culture of excess building up in Whitehall. Civil servants have legitimate expenses, but there is no excuse for some of the lavish spending that has been uncovered. There is no practical obstacle to being open about credit card spending, so it is very worrying that some departments have refused to disclose this information. The TaxPayers’ Alliance will keep fighting to ensure it is all published and the efficiency of the procurement cards can be combined with proper rigor to keep costs down.”

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