Emily Thornbury: Whitehall editions are ‘like the last days of Rome’

Union leadership hustings in Cardiff

Emily Thornberry has described ministers’ spending as out of control (pic:Getty)

Ministers are overseeing a wasteful spending culture that sees taxpayers’ money squandered on food, drink and flights, according to Labor claims.

Analysis of the use of government procurement cards found officials acting as if they were in “the last days of Rome, not the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades,” shadow prosecutor Emily Thornberry said.

14 departments in Whitehall spent £145.5m using GPCs in 2021, Labor says. That was an increase from £84.9m in 2010/11 – with just £20m being accounted for by inflation.

The party surveyed Foreign Office spending of almost £345,000 on bars and restaurants. And it highlighted bills totaling £3.3m from office supplies company Banner, £1.5m from Amazon, £415k from Enterprise Rent-a Car, £238k from Ikea, £106k from John Lewis and £101k from Apple .

Meanwhile, Labor accused Rishi Sunak of “jetting around the country like an A-list celebrity with taxpayers’ money” and pointed to his private flight from London to Cornwall last Thursday morning, despite arriving in the South West just a day earlier was.

Transport Secretary Richard Holden said Labor’s idea of ​​an Office of Value for Money was “straight out of Yes Minister”, adding we didn’t need “more Whitehall tangerines checking what other Whitehall tangerines are doing”.

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/02/14/emily-thornbury-whitehall-spending-is-like-last-days-of-rome-18277107/ Emily Thornbury: Whitehall editions are 'like the last days of Rome'

Justin Scaccy

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