An investigation by The Daily Telegraph has uncovered details of apparently questionable spending decisions by councillors and local government officials, with more than £2 million spent on travel over the last three years, including flights to Thailand, Kenya and Bermuda.
A total of another £500,000 was spent on gifts such as Tiffany jewellery, Gucci products and pure silk ties, while online shopping sprees racked up bills of more than £300,000 at Argos and £150,000 at Amazon.
Hospitality bills totalling £2.6m were paid on the cards, including dinners at Claridges, one of Britain’s most expensive hotels, hog roasts and champagne receptions, as well as tens of thousands of pounds spent booking tables at award ceremonies.
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, charged with overseeing local authorities and cutting waste described the spending as “wild”.
Details of Cheshire West and Chester's spending over £500 on credit cards.
My comment: Which includes £2878.50 for Hotel Accommodation at the Old Swan Hotel on the 25th June 2009. Paid for on the Chief Executive's & Leader's Office card. Which begs the question how many were accommodated, for how long and for what reason?
Investigation so far suggests that it may have been an advance payment for the LGA Harrogate Conference 30th June 2009 to 2nd July 2009, the Swan Hotel was one option on the LGA booking form. Although there was a Queen concert on the 25th June 2009 :)
The LGA offered accommodation for less than £40 a night, the Swan Hotel was the most expensive at £145 per night. Another possible question should the LGA conference turn out to be the reason for the spend.
Details of all Councils spending over £500 on credit cards.
Read the full story from the source Telegraph
UPDATE 31st May 2011: On the same day I received an acknowledgement for my FOI request CWaC Council visited my blog twice before lunch for a total of 48.5 minutes. :) I wonder why they are still using the old Cheshire County Council branding. PS I have captured quite a lot of these visits over the years, I must add up the total time one day.