Daily Mail: Home Office staff run up £2m taxi bill in one year

Friday, 1 May, 2009

HOME Office staff spent almost £ 2million on taxis and car hire last year.

Taxis alone cost taxpayers £1,045,671 in 2008-09. Only £30,000 was spent during Labour's first year in power.

The bill for car hire has reached £917,908, with the Home Office and UK Borders Agency spending £862,644 and the Identity and Passport Service another £55,264.

The scale of the travel perks emerged yesterday in a series of Parliamentary answers to questions from MP David Ruffley .

The Tory police spokesman said: 'Over the past 11 years, the Home Office has spent more than £ 5.6million on taxi fares.

'In the past 12 months to March 2009 alone it has increased its expenditure on taxi fares by 16 per cent.

'With the country in recession this is utterly disgraceful. I am struggling to understand why Home Office ministers are not clamping down on what they spend on taxis, especially at this difficult economic time.'

Earlier figures showed that in 2004-05 the Home Office did not spend any money on UK hotels. But by 2007-08 it was spending £1,213,000.

In the past four years, the ministry's outlay on flights has increased by 82 per cent to £2.56million.

Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'The Home Office has disgraced itself yet again by frittering away millions of pounds of taxpayers' money on taxis.

'It's very worrying that this spending has shot up over recent years, and displays a total lack of restraint and judgment of what is appropriate on the part of the Home Office.

'We're in a recession, and how can we expect the public sector as a whole to tighten its belt when major Government departments are indulging in such lavish behaviour?'

In its response to the Parliamentary questions, the Home Office said that all travel was undertaken in accordance with Whitehall codes.

It insisted that clear rules were laid down for all staff.