It was reported today that Edinburgh City Council has topped the UK league table for credit card expenditure for public bodies with a sum of £355,000 as an average spend for each of its 171 cards! This puts it way top of the league of card expenditure with the next highest being Kent County Council with a meagre £108,400 per card.
It is pretty obvious that the City Council is totally out of control when it comes to expenditure - this is a sharp warning to anyone even remotely thinking of allowing the present Council to be allowed to raise and then manage a further £270 million - on top of the £500 million allocated by Government - for expenditure on their pet doomed Edinburgh trams project. Who could possibly trust this lot with any money whatsoever?
They have been shown to be aloof and incompetent and now they are apparently utterly inept at controlling their own expenditure. At all costs they must be stopped from plunging the City into even greater debt.
Maybe it's because the council is a bit partial to plastic rather than deal with the red tape involved with normal purchase orders. The Cabinet office who released the figures are at pains to tell us that these are debit cards not credit cards and I'm sure the defence will be that the council is saving money by using their flexible friends rather going through the usual, longer proceedure of making council purchases.
This is what the Cabinet Office says:
"The Government Procurement Card is NOT a credit card. It is a payment charge card that allows public sector workers to pay for low value items in a controlled, secure and efficient way typically removing 95% of administrative effort.
"These cards are a payment tool which support the control of spend on low value transactions (i.e. travel). They are used extensively in well run private sector organisations as a lower cost alternative to processing supplier’s payments and invoices through Accounts Payable systems."
Whatever you call it it is still a bit of plastic which allows Council officials to rack up huge amounts of debt which the City has to fund! Oh yes, the figures are from 2007 to 2010 so this is a four year total. But actually the Daily Telegraph was being kind to Edinburgh City Council as the total figure when divided out by the 171 cards in use is actually a staggering £394,810 which is even more staggering! Perhaps they were all trying to go for the half million mark - shame they missed it!