Authorities departments have spent greater than £14.2 million on rent automobiles for employees this yr regardless of a public sector pay freeze, an investigation has revealed.
Specifically, the Ministry of Defence has come underneath hearth for “losing” taxpayers cash after it was revealed it spent nearly £13 million on rent automobiles for employees in 2021.
The following highest determine was from the Division of Transport, which spent greater than £1.1 million on rent automobiles for employees. Different authorities departments spent as much as tens of hundreds of kilos.
The figures, revealed by a Freedom of Info (FoI) request by the PA information company, confirmed the MoD spent £12,960,612 on rent automobiles by means of the Phoenix II car contract within the present calendar yr as much as November 30. The determine consists of VAT however excludes gasoline and different prices, it stated.
The Phoenix II contract covers all of the so-called High Degree Funds areas of the MoD, together with Land Forces, Air Command, Defence Gear and Assist, Joint Forces Command, Navy Command, Head Places of work and Company Companies and Defence Infrastructure Organisation.
The MoD fleet lined by the Phoenix II contract gives a mix of leased and rental automobiles together with automobiles, minibuses, coaches, vans and freight transport, in addition to specialist automobiles starting from canine vans to horse ambulances to mountain rescue automobiles.
Reacting to the revelation, Unite’s performing nationwide officer for defence workers, Caren Evans, known as the determine “extreme” and was consultant of how “inefficient the MoD is”.
She stated: “That is a completely extreme determine, it demonstrates how vastly inefficient the MoD is and is exceptionally poor worth for cash for taxpayers.
“This revelation of grandiose spending on employed automobiles by the MoD is a kick in enamel for civilian MoD workers who’ve skilled a pay freeze this yr and are actually struggling to make ends meet because of the price of dwelling disaster within the UK.
“The cash spent on hiring automobiles might and may have been higher spent on giving MoD employees a much-needed pay rise.”
In his 2020 spending overview, Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced that firefighters, academics, police, members of the armed forces, civil servants, and council and authorities company workers would have pay rises “paused” to scale back expenditure.
Shadow defence secretary John Healey added: “The Defence Division has blown tens of millions of kilos on taxis concurrently chopping Military numbers and freezing forces’ pay.
“There’s a lot waste in MoD budgets and ministers have gotten no grip on the issues. This Tory waste is letting down frontline forces and taxpayers.”
The MoD justified its spend on employed automobiles as its workers “must journey to places that aren’t all the time accessible with public transport,” and stated it’s “dedicated to delivering worth for cash.”
A spokesperson for the MoD stated: “As a big organisation with out-of-town websites throughout the UK and bases everywhere in the world, our workers must journey to places that aren’t all the time accessible with public transport and infrequently a lease/rent automobile or taxi is essentially the most environment friendly and cost-effective strategy to journey.
“We’re dedicated to delivering worth for cash. Our present contract for non-operational automobiles goals to ship financial savings of round £152 million over six years.”
It added that each one journey by MoD civil servants and army personnel should be confirmed as important and authorised by a supervisor to make sure the request is legitimate and represents worth for cash.
The Division for Transport and its Govt Businesses, which embrace Driver and Car Licensing Company (DVLA), Driver and Car Requirements Company (DVSA), Car Certification Company (VCA) and the Maritime and Coastguard Company (MCA), spent greater than £1.1 million on rent automobiles between January and October.
It spent a complete of £1,105,126 within the UK and abroad on this interval, with the vast majority of spend incurred by the DVSA, for driving examiners who may have to modify places as to the place they’re finishing up checks at brief discover.
It stated: “Though DVSA is conscious of reserving patterns and volumes and goals to offer an applicable variety of workers in every location to satisfy forecasted volumes, there are all the time going to be circumstances (each day) the place DVSA wants to maneuver workers from their ‘dwelling’ check centre to an alternate centre to satisfy elevated buyer demand and to cowl brief discover absences.
“The Departmental journey coverage states that rent automobiles can be utilized moderately than private automobiles if that is more economical.”
Different departments spent tens of hundreds of kilos on rent automobiles for employees, together with the Cupboard Workplace and the Division for Schooling, which spent £48,645.80 (excluding VAT) and £22,840 between April and October respectively.
The Division for Surroundings, Meals and Rural Affairs (Defra) spent £76,262 from April to October. The division stated rent automobiles had been wanted by Defra for accessing rural places for fieldwork.
Between January and October, the Division for Worldwide Commerce spent £36,339 each within the UK and abroad, and the Treasury spent £16,392.42, saying it included further prices akin to petrol, parking, fees for Congestion, Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) and Dartford Bridge.
In the meantime, the Division for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities stated it had not spent any cash on non-public rent automobiles for its workers this yr whereas the Lawyer Normal’s workplace spent simply £65.50.
Further reporting by Press Affiliation