Scandal of Government cars used to transport papers and nothing else

Nick Clegg
17 Jan, 2014 9:49am Joe Finnerty

Government ministers use car top-up system to send documents for them

Government ministers are using a car top-up service to transport paperwork in empty cars.

More than 500 journeys were recorded where ministers’ red boxes were transported alone in 2012/13, according to data released by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Each Government department has an allocated pool car, but when these aren’t free, ministers can make use of the extra facility.

The boxes containing important documents are being ferried around in the cars, despite access to a secure Royal Mail service.

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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was the top user of the fleet, sending his red box on 52 journeys alone over the course of the year.

Members of the DfT used the system on 25 occasions. And Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Stephen Hammond was guilty of 19 of these trips. A total of 396 journeys were made by the cars transporting just red boxes. 

The DfT said the number of official cars had been reduced from 136 to 85 since June 2011, and the top-up service was a ‘vital’ way for ministers to transport confidential documents to urgent meetings on time.

Ministers are able to choose how to transport their red boxes and documents, with some not wanting to take them to evening events and so send them home seperately in the top-up cars.

The worst offenders 2012/13
Minister Number of 'empty car' trips
Nick Clegg 52
William Hague 41
Sajid Javid 32
Baroness Hanham 24
Michael Gove 23

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If it is simply the case that they are sending the boxes home "before an evening engagement" then I agree that is quite wasteful. However, if it's to move *time* sensitive documents between locations (bearing in mind that you're already paying for the car and driver) it's probably cheaper than using a courier.

No excuse whatsoever for this extravagance. As usual politicians tax payers' money with complete arrogance. How many of us would be so wasteful ?

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