David Cameron may have taken a dim view of public official ‘swaning around in chauffeur-driven cars,’ but Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, claimed £23,457 for use of his official car over a 15-month period.
Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, must have breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced last week that he would not have to investigate Andrew Mitchell’s contretemps with the police officers in Downing Street. For all the Chief Whip’s failings, his use of a bicycle has saved the taxpayer a small fortune over the years.
Sir Jeremy, by contrast, has managed to run up a five figure expenses claim paying for his own official car. Figures in Mandrake’s possession show that he claimed £23,457 in business car expenses for the most recent 15 months for which figures are available. This amounts to an average £1,563 a month.
The fifteen months of car expense claims made by Sir Jeremy cover the period January 1 2011 until March 31 2012. In the three months to March 31 this year, Sir Jeremy’s “use of taxi/official car” costs is reported at £2,474. In addition to paying for his own official car on his expenses as a “benefit in kind,” Sir Jeremy has also met the cost of “shared official cars” which amounts to £4,834 of the five figure expense. The civil servant, who raised eyebrows in June when he told an Institute for Government conference that the country should brace itself for a further eight years of spending cuts, began claiming expenses for the use of his official car before the Coalition Government was formed. The perk forms part of his pay package at the Cabinet Office, which amounted to as much as £204,500 last year, including a bonus of up to £20,000. Disclosure of the expenses claims made by senior officials are part of the transparency drive that the Prime Minister championed.
Before coming to power, David Cameron said that he took a dim view of politicians who ran up big bills for official cars. “If there is something that really annoys people, it’s seeing politicians swanning around in chauffeur-driven cars like they’re the Royal Family,” he said.
A spokesman for Sir Jeremy Heywood tells Mandrake: “The Cabinet Secretary has access to a Government car so that he can start working before he reaches the office and continue working once he has left.