Senior public sector workers spent almost £1bn using credit cards paid for by the taxpayer in 2009, a Freedom of Information Request has revealed.
Around 141,000 senior civil servants and quango chiefs have access to ‘government procurement cards’ to pay for “low value goods and services” rather than having to submit receipts and claim money back.
In 2009, they spent almost £1bn – four times as much as in 2002 and enough to pay the salaries of 50,000 nurses, reports the Daily Mail.
Former independent MP Martin Bell, who campaigns against sleaze, told the newspaper: “The rules and standards we now expect our MPs to adhere to should apply to civil servants. This is a time for frugality – and all those who abuse their expenses should leave their jobs. Period.”
The government insists the scheme saves the taxpayer money because fewer staff need to be employed to oversee it.