Despite wide-ranging public spending cuts, government politicians continue to splash out on taxis and private car hire. New figures show that government departments spent almost £470,000 on taxis last year.
But this figure is almost certainly likely to rise substantially as some government departments refused to come clean with their cab expenses.
"In response to parliamentary questions we have tabled," said Labour MP Maria Eagle, "Ministers have admitted to spending at least £468,500 in just one year on taxis and private hire contracts. This is clearly just the tip of the iceberg, excluding major government departments including transport, business, education, justice and the Foreign Office who have all ducked answering our questions on the level of their spending on private cars."
The worry is that despite claiming deep cuts in the size of ministerial car fleets, the spending is just going somewhere else - on private car hire.
The number of departments that refused to give out figures on how much they spent on private hire included the Home Office (it owned up to £42.50 on taxis), the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Health and the Department for Transport. The full information on the investigation can be found here
Meanwhile the Goverment's Car and Despatch Agency is claiming "greater efficiency and reform". "The previous Government had Ministerial cars for most Ministers, costing £6.8 million in 09/10," said Mike Penning from the Department of Transport. "We are now spending just £3.8 million or 55% percent of that, and the number of Ministers requiring cars has reduced by around half."
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