Spending on government-issued “credit cards”, also known as Government Procurement Cards, has risen 70% since 2010.
While ordinary families up and down the country are told to tighten their belts amid a cost of living crisis, the Treasury spent £3,000 of taxpayers’ cash on fine art photographs to hang on the walls.
The ridiculous use of taxpayers’ money has come to light after the Labour Party sent hundreds of Freedom of Information Requests and asked Parliamentary questions to uncover the information.
Spending on government-issued “credit cards”, also known as Government Procurement Cards, has risen 70% since 2010. According to analysis by the Labour Party, civil servants at 14 of the 15 main government departments spent nearly £150m on government procurement cards (GPCs) in 2021.
The information obtained by the Labour Party also revealed that Liz Truss and her top officials spent nearly £1,500 on lunch and dinner at two of Jakarta’s most exclusive restaurants, while the Treasury also spent £4,500 on hotel rooms in Venice.
The spending by Truss in Indonesia took place during a visit to Jakarta on Remembrance Day 2021. David Rutley, the Foreign Office minister was quoted by the Guardian as saying: “Participants at both [meals] included the former foreign secretary and delegation, our ambassador to Indonesia and other British embassy officials.”
When it came to the spending on hotel rooms in Venice, Sunak stayed in the five-star Hotel Danieli when attending the G20 meeting of finance ministers in July 2021 at a cost of more than £4,500 for him and his aides.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “Today’s shocking revelations lift the lid on a scandalous catalogue of waste, with taxpayers’ money frittered away across every part of government, while in the rest of the country, families are sick with worry about whether their pay cheque will cover their next weekly shop or the next tranche of bills.”
Number 10 has insisted that it was Treasury officials who signed off the £3,000 spend on fine art photos, not Sunak. A spokesperson said: “In terms of art work in the Treasury, the PM – when chancellor – was not involved in that decision either. It was a non-ministerial decision related to refurbishment of some of the offices.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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