Nothing wrong with a government credit card per se……

But it does depend what the money was actually spent on:

The expenditure included meals at The Wolseley, one of London’s most popular restaurants among celebrities, and hundreds of pounds spent at country pubs in the Cotswolds and other beauty spots.

There are also thousands of pounds in smaller bills at restaurants and bars around the department’s office – prompting speculation that officials were buying one another lunch or dinners.

The 67-page document also shows that the taxpayer-funded cards were used for shopping at Amazon, Marks & Spencer, Majestic Wine, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

They also appear to have been used to hire chauffeurs, buy pay-as-you-go phones, pay for more than £500 worth of National Theatre tickets and tickets for exhibitions at London museums and art galleries.

Any and every company has a similar system for their salesmen and managers etc. Off you go on company business and use the company card to buy what is necessary.

However, it\’s usual to have some sorts of checks on whether what is being spent actually is necessary. Some use the honour system: we won\’t check but if we find out you\’ve been fiddling then we\’ll fire you, on the spot. Others (notably, historically, newspapers) let absolutely anything through. Gives you power over the peons to know that they\’ve been fiddling. Most though read through the bills and check off what is and isn\’t allowable.

One company I know of would pay the salesman\’s petrol bills, of eyewatering size, no problem at all, but would always deduct from the wages the Mars Bar that appeared on the petrol station receipts. One salesman was caught regularly filling the family\’s two cars on one receipt: despite admiring the ingenuity, yes, he was fired.

As I say, no problem with a corporate credit card: it\’s just what were the rules for what was allowable and who was checking they were followed and how?

And yes, those who fiddled should be fired.

3 thoughts on “Nothing wrong with a government credit card per se……”

  1. Do taxable benefit-in-kind rules change by industry?
    Perhaps HMRC should write to each credit card holder inviting them to submit / modify a tax return?

  2. Surreptitious Evil

    Nope, HMRC rules don’t change – but if you have a published expenses & perks scheme, HMRC will look at it for you and give you approval, telling you what you need to and what you don’t need to put on the staff P11D.

    It works even for small companies – we have a blanket approval for our scheme, therefore no P11Ds issued.

  3. I’ve never worked for a company that works this way.

    Where I work, employees incur expenses as necessary and then claim them back. Anything impermissible simply isn’t reimbursed. This means there is a very effective in-built incentive only to spend on those items that comply with the expense policy.

    For those employees who choose not to subsidise the cost of the company’s working capital, there is the option to use a company *charge* card, for which the employee, not the company, is liable.

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