Bet you wish you had one of these, eh! It’s a shiny bright Government Procurement Card – or to put it another way, a great way for our elected and unelected ‘servants’ to piss taxpayer’s money up the wall…
If you think that the MPs expenses scandal was off the scale, then let me tell that you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The cards were first introduced in 1997, the year Tony Blair entered Downing Street. They were designed to be used as a convenient way to pay for low-value work expenses such as travel tickets and office supplies, with all bills settled directly by departmental finance departments, and were initially supplied by Visa. Other companies, including American Express, now also supply them.
More than 140,000 cards have been handed out to staff, who are using them to spend more than £1 billion of public money every year. Dubbed by critics as ‘a Gold Card on the taxpayer’, thay are being widely abused because bills of less than £1,000 a month are not routinely audited. They have been used to pay for fast-food meals, drinks in the pub and even shopping trips to Tesco, with all bills sent straight to the taxpayer.
Local Government Minister Grant Shapps has sent a shiver through Whitehall by calling for every card statement, past and present, to be made available online. The mandarins fear that if they comply it could lead to the Civil Service’s equivalent of the MPs’ expenses scandal in 2009, with thousands of bogus claims being exposed.
And so they should be – not only exposed, but the abusers summarily dismissed and prosecuted!
(Full marks to the Telegraph for exposing yet another abuse of power)