Departments have spent more than £ 14million on hire cars for staff this year

The Ministry of Defense has come under fire after it was revealed that it had spent nearly £ 13million on hire cars for staff this year.

An access to information (FoI) request from the PA news agency also showed the Department for Transport spent more than £ 1.1million in the year through October, while that other departments have spent tens of thousands of pounds.

The total number of responses to FoI’s request was over £ 14.2million.

But a union representing civilian workers at the Ministry of Defense and Labor criticized the amount of money spent.

Caren Evans, Unite’s acting national officer for the Defense Staff, told the PA: “This is a very excessive number, it shows how extremely inefficient the Department of Defense is. and presents exceptionally low value for money for taxpayers.

“This revelation of grandiose spending on vehicles leased by the Defense Ministry is a kick in the teeth for civilian staff in the Defense Ministry who suffered a salary freeze this year and now find it difficult to reach two ends because of the cost of living crisis in the UK.

“The money spent on car rentals could and should have been better spent on giving Defense Ministry workers a much needed pay raise. “

Shadow Secretary of Defense John Healey said: “The Department of Defense has spent millions of pounds on taxis at the same time as it downsized the military and froze the salaries of the forces.

“There is so much waste in the budgets of the Ministry of Defense and ministers have no control over the problems. This Conservative waste is failing frontline forces and taxpayers. “

The MoD responded to FoI’s request: “The car rental expense for MoD staff through the Phoenix II vehicle contract for the current calendar year through November 30, 2021 is £ 12,960,612. Please note that this figure includes VAT but excludes fuel and other costs.

A spokesperson for the Department of Defense said: ‘As a large organization with out of town sites across the UK and bases all over the world, our staff need to go to places that are not. not always accessible by public transport and often a rental or rental car. the taxi is the most efficient and economical means of transport.

“We are committed to providing good value for money. Our current contract for non-operational vehicles aims to deliver savings of around £ 152million over six years. “

In other guidelines, the Department of Defense has stated that all travel by Department of Defense officials and military personnel must be confirmed as essential and authorized by an official to ensure the request is valid and represents a good report. price quality.

The Phoenix II contract covers all so-called high-level budgetary areas of the Department of Defense, including land forces, air command, defense equipment and support, joint forces command, navy command , head offices and general services and the organization of defense infrastructure.

The MoD fleet covered by the Phoenix II contract offers a mix of rented and leased vehicles, including cars, minibuses, coaches, vans and freight transport, as well as specialized vehicles ranging from dog vans to horse-drawn ambulances in passing through mountain rescue vehicles.

Responses from other departments were as follows:

– The Department of Education spent £ 22,840 between April and October.

– The Department for International Trade spent £ 36,339 from January to October, including UK and overseas hires.

– The Cabinet Office spent £ 48,645.80 (excluding VAT) between April and October.

– The Treasury spent £ 16,392.42 from January to October 2021, saying it included additional costs such as gasoline, parking, congestion charges, the low emission zone (LEZ) and the Dartford.

– The Attorney General’s office spent £ 65.50.

– The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spent £ 76,262 from April to October. The department said Defra needed rental cars to access rural areas for field work.

– The Department of Transport and its executive agencies – Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) – spent £ 1,105,126 in UK and overseas between January and October.

He added that the vast majority of this expense has been incurred by DVSA, for driving examiners who may need to relocate to perform short-term testing.

The department said, “While DVSA is aware of reservation patterns and volumes and aims to provide an appropriate number of staff in each location to meet expected volumes, there will always be instances (on a daily basis) where DVSA needs to move staff from their “home” testing center to an alternative center to meet growing customer demand and cover short-term absences.

“Departmental travel policy states that rental cars can be used rather than personal cars if that is more cost effective. “

The Ministry of Grading, Housing and Communities said it had not spent any money on private rental cars for its staff this year.

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