Adviser given govt payment card
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has come under fire for providing his political adviser with a Government payment card normally used exclusively by civil servants.
PoliticsHome can reveal that the Scotland Office has taken the unusual step of issuing a Government Procurement Card to a special adviser.
The Government Procurement Card is a payment card which individuals can use to purchase goods and services; the supplier is paid immediately and the balance is paid in full each month by the taxpayer.
The Cabinet Office has said that the cards should only be for permanent civil servants and other Government departments have declined to provide any such cards to special advisers.
Responding to the news, Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge told PoliticsHome today: “I don’t think any political appointee, minister or special adviser should be allowed to use the Government Procurement Card. It’s just plain wrong.”
Labour MP Jon Ashworth said: “It seems very peculiar that a special adviser in the Scottish Office has access to a Government Procurement Card and can presumably spend taxpayers’ money, while in other departments special advisers are prevented from having such cards.
"Clearly the Scottish Office have some questions to answer about what’s going on here.”
But a Scotland Office spokesman defended the department's actions.
He said: "The Scotland Office has offices in Whitehall and Edinburgh. In support of the Secretary of State, the special adviser's job means frequent travel between them and elsewhere as business dictates.
"The GPC card has been used infrequently, for work-incurred travel and accommodation costs only, and is fully and regularly audited by the Scotland Office."