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Travel, food, chauffeurs – quangos are at it too

Quangocrats are claiming up to £35,000 a year each in expenses for hotels, lavish meals, sat navs and, in one case, £18.50 for dishwasher tablets.

One quango boss made 12 trips abroad during two years in which she claimed £70,000 in expenses. Another claimed nearly £800 for a 42in flatscreen television which he said he would watch only in “times of emergency”. Another spent £16,500 on chauffeur-driven cars.

Details of the claims, released under freedom of information laws, reveal how quangocrats earning six-figure salaries routinely claim tens of thousands of pounds extra in expenses, paid for by taxpayers.

Matthew Elliott, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Quango expenses are potentially even worse than MPs’. Quangocrats are unelected and hidden from public view. They should have all their expenses published on the internet.”

Some of the most controversial claims were made by Paul Evans, former chief executive of the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Evans, who was paid £100,000 a year, claimed nearly £24,000 in 2007-8 including £180 in Farlows, a shooting accessories shop, and £62 in Graingers, a supplier of fishing equipment. He also spent £69 of taxpayers’ money in Davidoff, a London tobacconist renowned for its cigars.

He claimed a further £3,000 on expenses at top bars and restaurants in Leeds and London, £1,170 on an Apple laptop and accessories and £259 on an Apple iPhone.

His claims caught the eye of accountants at the Royal Armouries and he was suspended on full pay in April 2008 over alleged “financial irregularities”. He resigned in September after agreeing to return his computer equipment and to reimburse the Royal Armouries for £289.70 of “personal” expenses claims. An internal investigation later cleared him of any impropriety. Evans last week declined to comment.

Although Evans’s case is unusual, other quango chiefs are making large claims regarded as legitimate.

Dr William Moyes, chief executive of Monitor, a quango that regulates National Health Service trusts, claimed more than £35,000 in expenses in 2007-8 and 2008-9.

His biggest charge was for chauffeur-driven cars, which cost £16,500. Moyes, whose basic salary is £215,000 a year, also spent £7,500 on meals at some of London’s finest restaurants with public servants and consultants.

His favourite venue was the Cinnamon Club, an Indian restaurant in Westminster where he dined on 24 occasions, spending a total of £2,600. A spokeswoman said the meals were important for maintaining relationships with “key stakeholders”.

From:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6396004.ece

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