Government departments spent nearly £35m on first class rail travel for their officials last year, research by the Liberal Democrats has found.
The figures, compiled from Parliamentary answers, show:
- The 11 departments that supplied figures spent £34,760,255 on first class rail travel in 2008/09. This is equivalent to £94,000 a day or £65 every minute
- The biggest spender was the Department for Work and Pensions, which spent more than £13m last year
- Nine departments supplied figures for 2007/08, spending a combined £22m
- Eight departments supplied figures for 2006/07, spending just under £23m
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Paul Burstow said:
“The public will find it hard to see how it is possible to justify spending so much on first class rail travel, especially as more and more people are being laid off or told to accept pay freezes or cuts.
“With the pressure on public finances, this is surely an area ripe for the severest of pruning.
“It is disturbing how many departments don’t seem to keep a proper record of this type of expenditure, so how are they able to control it?”