New figures released in The Daily Telegraph have revealed that treasury officials have racked up a massive £2million in credit card bills in just three years, all funded by the taxpayer.
In that time the £2million has included cookery courses, go-karting trips and five star hotels.
The staff are allowed to use government procurement cards, a credit card branded by the government and currently held by around 140,000 officials, with an average spend of £1billion a year.
The figures, released after the Telegraph invoked the Freedom of Information clause shows that since April 2008, Treasury officials spent £28,571 on hotels, including some in Toronto, the UK, Brussels and Amsterdam.
They spent just as much on hiring conference facilities, despite having their own offices, and hired country manors and Jacobean mansions.
Even more shocking was the Team building and Trianing day spend, with came in at £560,772 and included courses on leadership skills, communication and presentation skills.
They also spent £25,000, the cost of a nurse for a year, on two chocolate making classes, five trips to cookery schools and three visits to the pricey Revolution Go-Karting centre just outside Canary Wharf.
Marks and Spencer’s and John Lewis welcomed a further £9,000 of spending, with any purchase under £1000 just accepted, with fears of another MP expense scandal growing.
Eric Pickles, the communities secretary explained that the government was looking to tighten rules around how the credit cards are used, as civil servants unsurprisingly don’t want exact details of their spending published.
Pickles said, ‘As anyone with a credit card knows, your flexible friend can make spending that bit too easy.’
‘Take the government procurement card – literally, the government’s branded credit card. It was intended to cut the red tape of filling out government purchase orders in triplicate. But it’s also meant the weakening of financial controls.
‘In his government efficiency review last year, Sir Philip Green warned that there are insufficient checks to monitor spend.’