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.
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|