Jersey civil servants claimed rugby travelling expenses

Rugby Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is claimed that business meetings were held at Twickenham, giving the island an economic boost

Thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money has been spent flying civil servants from Jersey to international rugby matches at Twickenham.

The States spent £4,359 between November 2012 and February 2016.

The Economic Development Department was criticised for spending £13,000 on two business class flights to South Africa in February.

It said it was a commercial proposition, with business meetings taking place at Twickenham.

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Assistant Minister Murray Norton told BBC News the civil servants were part of Locate Jersey, which was a "dedicated inward investment agency" and said the island should be "incredibly grateful" for the economic boost it received.

"Their remit is very clear... they go and find potential high net-worth individuals," he said.

As a sponsor of Jersey Rugby Club, the department was given complementary tickets to the England games at Twickenham - but managers claimed travel expenses to get to the matches.

Figures revealed under a Freedom of Information request shows claims of between £83 and £552 were submitted for 13 matches.

Among those travelling to watch the games were department CEO Mike King and the director of Locate Jersey Wayne Gallichan, the same civil servants who travelled to South Africa in February.

Image copyright Picasa
Image caption A States department sponsors Jersey Rugby Club
  • November 2012: England v South Africa, £552.
  • December 2012: England v New Zealand, £331
  • February 2013: England v Scotland, £486
  • February 2013: England v France, £446
  • November 2013: England v Argentina, £429
  • November 2013: England v New Zealand, £103
  • March 2014: England v Wales, £273
  • November 2014: England v New Zealand, £393
  • November 2014: England v South Africa, £101
  • November 2014: England v Australia, £459
  • February 2015: England v Italy, £83
  • March 2015: England v Scotland, £390
  • February 2016: England v Ireland, £313

Senator Sarah Ferguson said she was "fed up" with the island being run for the finance industry.

"They [civil servants] are getting high enough salaries and they get free tickets? And they don't need the expenses. They can pay their own expenses.

"To be using these tickets themselves and not be encouraging people who are engaged in the sport to go. I'm speechless."

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