Whitehall 'saves £15m on civil servant bonuses'

Banknotes Spending on Whitehall charge cards was reduced by £45m, the Cabinet Office says

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Cuts to the number of civil servants taking home bonuses saved £15m in six months, Cabinet Office records show.

Labour's "all must have prizes" culture meant two-thirds of senior civil servants were paid bonuses, Tory party chairwoman Baroness Warsi said.

Now only the top 25% of performers are rewarded, but Labour argue the clampdown should be on banker bonuses.

A further £45m was saved after spending on Whitehall charge cards was tightened, according to the records.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said the reduction from £341m to £296m - in the first year of the coalition - was the result of more stringent controls on staff use of the cards, including a crackdown on first-class travel.

The records detailed all transactions above £500, but some bodies disclosed every purchase, among them doughnuts, flying lessons and a fridge.

Government credit card spending

Department for Transport

Flying training - £1,335.65 (May 2011); Orthopaedic kit - more than £4,000

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Print and frames from Government Art Collection - £1,182; Addison Lee cab firm - £1,886.71 (May 2011)

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

The Cake Store - £172.70; Krispy Kreme - £54.30; Dominos pizza - £247.75; Marks and Spencer - £157.88

Cabinet Office

John Lewis - £2,260 on "display equipment and refrigeration equipment" following office refurbishment

The Cabinet Office said the data also revealed a 40% reduction in the number of consultants.

'Restoring trust'

Mr Maude said: "We inherited an unprecedented deficit and are doing all we can to address waste and increase scrutiny on government expenditure.

"We need to be able to show taxpayers that every penny we spend is being used efficiently and we must open up our books so people can see for themselves where their money is going.

"Transparent government is absolutely essential to restoring people's trust in the political system."

Baroness Warsi said: "We are working with the civil service to clear up the mess Labour left in Whitehall and shining a light on departmental spending by publishing full details for the first time.

"Transparency will help ensure that the abuses of procurement cards that we saw under Labour won't be repeated.

"Labour's 'all must have prizes' culture meant that two-thirds of senior civil servants were paid bonuses - we think bonuses should be a reward for excellence so we've restricted them to just the top performers."

A Labour spokesman said: "It's right to make savings in the civil service and Labour set out plans to do so in government.

"But if this Tory-led government wants to take on the bonus culture, why won't they adopt Labour's plan for a £2bn tax on bankers' bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people?"

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