5th November 2010 at 00:00
Lunch is not for wimps

The Government's admirable decision to publish all public spending over a certain limit has been taken a step further by the Young People's Learning Agency, which is releasing spreadsheets showing where its money goes - almost down to the last penny.

So it would almost be ungrateful not to dig around and see if we can find something to be outraged about, wouldn't it? Here goes!

Firstly, FErret had to raise a furry eyebrow at some of the mobile phone bills paid to Vodafone, which is not only doing well at minimising the tax it pays, but also hoovering up whatever money the rest of us give the Exchequer.

Forty or fifty quid can easily be believed, but pound;116? pound;272 for one London worker? Someone in the chief executive's office even ran up an pound;851 bill, which in FErret's experience only happens when you forget to turn off international data roaming on holiday.

For pound;30 a month, you can get 1,200 minutes and all landline calls included - there aren't enough working minutes in the month to go much over that. Yet in total, YPLA staff splurged pound;30,000 on mobiles for just 500 staff. How many premium ringtones do those guys need?

Meanwhile, an interesting pattern emerges if you examine the expenses claims for "subsistence". Mostly, this is pound;4.25 for a ham sandwich and a packet of crisps but the academies unit, perhaps basking in its favoured status with Government, has been notching up a litany of subsistence claims of pound;195, pound;173, pound;186 and so on. That's a lot of sandwiches, or perhaps some very enjoyable working lunches. Only the finance unit comes close, racking up a pound;152 claim and one pound;228 claim - perhaps an exercise in steadying the nerves after the academies unit sent its expenses in.

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