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Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

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Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

Post by Guest on 15.08.11 12:04

Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

Sir Gus O’Donnell, Britain's most senior civil servant, has been accused of trying to cover up billions of pounds of spending on taxpayer-funded credit cards by officials.

Sir Gus O'Donnell is said to have helped block the publication of many details of Whitehall civil servants' use of taxpayer-funded credit cards

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent
6:51AM BST 15 Aug 2011

The Cabinet Secretary has been drawn into an increasingly acrimonious power struggle between officials and politicians about “government procurement cards”.

The row flared up as it was disclosed that House of Commons staff have used similar credit cards for £1.5 million of spending on items including luxury hotels, wine and restaurant meals.

Records show that last year their purchases included shoes for £94, an £885 food mixer and £189 of French lessons.

The disclosure led to calls for greater restraint among Commons officials.

The Commons cards are similar to the more numerous cards used by staff in Whitehall departments and agencies.

There are 140,000 such procurement cards in circulation and civil servants used them to spend £1 billion last year alone. However, few details of their use are made public. Sir Gus is said to have helped block the publication of many details of Whitehall civil servants’ use of taxpayer-funded credit cards.

The Daily Telegraph reported in May that Conservative ministers were alarmed at the use of government credit cards by Whitehall officials and other public sector staff. Details of some spending was revealed. Officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government spent thousands of pounds at some of the country’s top restaurants and bought theatre and exhibition tickets.

Some other departments have refused to provide a full breakdown of their spending on the cards. That led to a joint campaign by The Daily Telegraph and the TaxPayers’ Alliance to force government departments to release details.

In response, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, announced last month that civil servants would be forced to publish all spending.

However, it emerged yesterday that the final publication scheme being devised will mean that many items of spending will remain secret.

Coalition sources say that senior civil servants have tried to block a far-reaching disclosure of all spending on credit cards.

The final disclosure scheme is likely to be limited to items over £500, meaning that many of the most contentious purchases will not be revealed. Nor will the purchasers be identified.

It is also expected that disclosure rules will apply to the current financial year and future years, meaning that previous spending will not be revealed.

Advice to ministers from officials now circulating in Whitehall is understood to warn against the publication of backdated spending records as “a poor use of resources”. That conclusion is said to have been backed by Sir Gus.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said it was “untrue” that Sir Gus had tried to prevent the publication of credit card data.

However, he declined to say if Sir Gus had tried to limit the scope of the releases.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8701260/Cabinet-Secretary-accused-of-trying-to-cover-up-government-credit-card-use.html

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Re: Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

Post by PeterMac on 15.08.11 14:24

If Cameron really want to be taken seriously he will suspend Sir Gus immediately, pending the result of a full enquiry.
But he won't.
But equally neither would any of the others.

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Re: Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

Post by jd on 15.08.11 14:38

They wonder why the country is so angry. They are just as bad as the looters and should be held to account and lead by example of being responsible

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Re: Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

Post by juliet on 15.08.11 21:32

Many of our MPs are proven thieves and liars.



Why have only a few

politicians been jailed over expense thefts?



Cameron CAN'T scream that all looters must be jailed when scores of politicians have got away with taxpayers money - like David Laws, Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears.
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Re: Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

Post by Ollie on 15.08.11 21:45

It will be the same as the MPs expenses...all within the spirit of the rules!

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Re: Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

Post by juliet on 15.08.11 21:53

As the saying goes, a fish rots from the head down.



The looters are following in the criminal tradition of the last three British governments: ""Anything goes, as long as we get most of it".
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Re: Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

Post by jd on 15.08.11 21:58

@juliet wrote: Many of our MPs are proven thieves and liars. Yes

Why have only a few politicians been jailed over expense thefts?

Cameron CAN'T scream that all looters must be jailed when scores of politicians have got away with taxpayers money - like David Laws, Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears.

The reality of life in the UK is a looter who only stole a bottle of water in an opportunity moment gets 6 months in jail...whilst the likes of Hazel Blears who stole from the public tens of thousands to pay for her mortgage gets absolutely nothing and keeps her job, and one of a public servant! She doesn't even know why the kids were not at school last week! This country is screwed


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Re: Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

Post by jd on 15.08.11 21:59

@juliet wrote:As the saying goes, a fish rots from the head down.
The looters are following in the criminal tradition of the last three British governments: ""Anything goes, as long as we get most of it".

Yes. And if you dare try to challenge anyone in a position of responsibility or authority you get Carter Rucked

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Re: Cabinet Secretary accused of trying to cover-up government credit card use

Post by juliet on 15.08.11 22:02

Worst is, Blears and Keith Vaz seem to think their reputations are unsmirched!!



They put themselves about, criticising the looters in Parliament, smug as can be. I was almost sick when I saw them a- and other guilty MPs - posturing during the Commons debate the other day.



Cameron needs to put the House in order fast.
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