Ministers and staff racked up £4.2million bill for first-class train travel, figures show
- The Foreign Office spent £7.5million on cabs and first-class rail in three years
- Taxi use was criticised for being ‘beyond excessive’ for the department
- The Foreign Office said that it is ‘committed to using public money responsibly’
Ministers and their staff spent £4.2million on first-class train travel and another £8.2million on taxis between 2020 and 2022, figures show.
The excessive amount was branded an ‘insult’ to taxpayers struggling with the cost of living and soaring energy bills.
The Foreign Office was the most free-spending department, with almost £7.5 million forked out on taxis and first-class rail in the last three years.
Taxi usage, though necessary during lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, was still criticised as ‘beyond excessive’.
The Foreign Office spent £7.5million on cabs and first-class rail in three years. Pictured: British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly speaking at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
John O’Connell, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Taxpayers will be furious that they’ve been railroaded into covering these exorbitant costs.’
Former parliamentary private secretary and shadow minister Jon Trickett, who obtained the figures in written parliamentary questions, said it was ‘an insult to key workers in the NHS, in the rail and postal services’ who are now ‘having their pay held down by this Tory Government’. He added: ‘This will provoke fury among hard-pressed families struggling with the cost of living and soaring energy bills, as well as those forced to rely on food banks to survive.’
A Foreign Office spokesman said that staff followed set guidelines, adding: ‘We are committed to using public money responsibly.’
Efforts have been made in the past to clamp down on transport spending by government officials, with former George Osborne banning civil servants from using first class rail travel unless there were exceptional circumstances, and former Prime Minister David Cameron asking ministers and civil servants to take fly economy.
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