UK Council spent £5 mn to buy make up, India trips

Staff at Essex County Council have spent over GBP 5 million of taxpayers’ money on corporate credit cards in the last 2 years.

London: Staff at one of the Britain’s largest County Councils have spent over GBP five million of taxpayers’ money on corporate credit cards in the last two years, including fast food and trips to India, according to a report.

Members of Essex County Council used corporate credit cards to pay for restaurant visits, make up, haircuts, dry cleaning and outings to bars and nightclubs, figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act have shown.

Figures showed that over GBP 10,000 was spent in record shops, nearly GBP 90,000 on hotels and resort stays, and over GBP 1,500,000 on paying fines such as court fees.

Nearly GBP 3,116 was spent on six people staying at the Nan Lin Hotel in China, and GBP 1,301 for six people to stay at the Taj Lands End hotel in India, The Telegraph reports.

According to the paper, a spokeswoman for the council said the money, spent between December 2009 and April 2012, was mostly spent on buying ‘necessary materials for children in care’.

The outings, luxury goods and were purchased directly for them, she said, with other items being used by staff working for their benefit.

Figures published by the Brentwood Gazette as part of an investigation into council waste found officers spent GBP 5,136,145 in 27 months.

Eric Pickles, local government secretary and Brentwood and Ongar MP, told the paper the amount “strikes him as excessive”.

“People at Essex County Council need to realise that it isn’t Essex’s money, it isn’t the Government’s money, it is the public’s money and the public have a right to know how it is being spent,” the paper quoted him, as saying.