UK taxpayers’ money spent on luxuries

Civil servants spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money on luxury hotels, M&S lunches, away days and staff massages last year, the newly-released figures show.

But the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) paid out far more on consultants and outsourced work, with IT, market research and advertising accounting for a large chunk of its budget.

The largest amount, £69.87 million, was paid to Airwave Solutions for mobile communications services for the nation’s fire and rescue services.

The next largest payment was £21.76 million to the Ordnance Survey mapping agency, followed by £17.29 million to Land Securities Properties, the UK’s largest commercial property company.

Details of 1,913 items of expenditure over £500 made by the core DCLG in 2009-10, totalling £314 million, were published with a breakdown of another £337 million of spending by the department’s biggest quangos.

Among the eye-catching entries in the DCLG accounts are £12,948 for catering at Manchester United, £782 for an event at Exeter Racecourse, £2,500 for food provided by the Muslim Council of Great Britain and £500 spent at Majestic Wine Warehouse.

The Rubens at the Palace 4-star hotel, located opposite Buckingham Palace and around the corner from the DCLG offices, was clearly popular with the department’s civil servants.

A total of £21,692 was spent there last year, made up of £16,959 for events, £1,999 on food, £932 for accommodation and £1,801.20 for “learning and development services”. The department also spent £5,145 on an event at the 5-star Waldorf Hilton hotel in central London

Out of the £9.14 million that went on “learning and development services”, £13,450 was paid to the Quilliam Foundation, which was co-founded by former Islamists and describes itself as the world’s first counter-extremism think tank.

Some £109,851 was spent on human resources consultancy, including £1,483 to a company called Psychology in Business (UK) Ltd. And £31.2 million went on research, including £4.38 million to polling company Mori and £62,233 to the Board of Muslim Scholars.

Source: Press Association

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