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After five-star hotels, VIP lounges and branded hand sanitizer were procured with government debit cards, Labor said key government spending systems were home to “extensive evidence of misreporting, waste and excess”. I claimed.
The party has released documents detailing the department’s spending on the Government Procurement Card, a payment system that allows thousands of civil servants to purchase goods under £10,000 for their department.
They identified £6m in Foreign Office spending in March 2022, just before the end of the current budgeting period, compared with just £3m in the last 11 months.
Nearly £5,000 has been spent on five-star hotels for Rishi Snack, who is attending the G20 as prime minister in 2021, and staff in Venice. Liz meanwhile, on her first visit as secretary of foreign affairs at Truss, her £3,240 was spent to use her VIP suite at Heathrow. when she returned from her trip abroad.
Meanwhile, the Prisons and Probation Service, which has been plagued by funding shortages and strained services, bought branded hand sanitizer, water bottles, badges and notepads for nearly £10,000.
5 of the most “scandalous” cases
Liz Truss’ Roller Coaster YearsDuring her time as Foreign Minister, Liz Truss racked up a number of bizarre bills, including £7,000 for events in Australia. The event was held at Sydney’s theme park, Luna Park, and hired boats to charter guests across the harbor. The government said there would be no cost to enter the fairgrounds.
sofa government. Liz Truss spent £3,240 in a VIP suite at Heathrow on her return from Mexico on her first trip as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. This expenditure was outside the normal government protocol for using such facilities. This is for official visits or government guests only.Her four further trips by foreign dignitaries have cost him £7,200 on government bills to Heathrow Airport.
draw a picture£3,000 was spent on fine art photography while Rishi Sunak was prime minister. verticalThe government already owns a private collection of about 15,000 works of art. A government spokesperson said Sunak was not involved in the purchase of the photos because it was a “non-ministerial decision” to coincide with the renovation of some of the Treasury’s offices.
Stay at the ‘Golden Cage’ Hotel for MinistersInternational Trade Minister Lord Grimstone spent three nights at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh with an aide to attend an investment conference in Saudi Arabia, which amounted to £3,041. The hotel gained international notoriety during the Crown Prince’s purges from 2017 to his 2019. That’s when prominent Saudi princes, government ministers and businessmen were detained following a crackdown on corruption. Internet and phone lines were cut during the purge. It returned to normal operation in 2018.
street cleaningBuying the branded HM Prisons and Probation Service hand sanitizer has been frowned upon as tensions in the justice system have increased in recent months. The sanitizer proved so popular that HMPPS later purchased water bottles, badges and branded notepads for his staff, bringing him £9,236.
The Government Procurement Card (GPC) system has been in place since 1997 and transaction details have been made public since 2011. Most of the products listed in the Transparency Log are related to stationery, computers and training.
However, the system has already generated controversy. Ten years ago, the National Accounting Office (NAO) found that extensive purchases of alcohol, five-star hotel reservations, and other exorbitant card purchases made at the end of the fiscal year were done to deplete the remaining budget. criticized spending on
According to Labor, these problems still exist. Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner said the documents showed evidence of a “scandalous inventory of waste”.
The Taxpayers League, a right-wing campaign group dedicated to cutting government spending, praised the workers’ study. Its Chief Executive Officer, John O’Connell, said: Households are struggling under record tax burdens, while politicians and bureaucrats are pouring our money into frivolous things and five-star travel. ”
Tim Durant, deputy director of the Institute of Government Agencies, said: All government spending should be subject to scrutiny, but the numbers Labor stressed were negligible in the overall context of government spending, suggesting that spending on the GPC is no longer fraudulent than other types of government spending. there is a risk of
“The risk this poses is that it further undermines public confidence in politics, which is the exact opposite of what Labor claims they are trying to do, and of course, if they form the next government, the eventual will damage them.”
However, not all government departments seem to take a luxurious approach to spending and hospitality. Transport Minister Richard Holden said on Monday: sky news On his last visit, he drove 200 miles on his own and stayed at the Premier Inn.
Conservative sources defended government spending and said the Labor campaign was hypocritical given the high-profile spending missteps of the last Labor government.
A Conservative source said:
“By reducing the number of cards, introducing the need to publicly declare spending, and introducing controls, the Conservatives quickly stopped the ridiculous waste.”