Civil Servants are given £30MILLION in gift cards for shops and restaurants as a reward for their ‘good performance’ despite WFH surge and Whitehall failings
- £30 million was spent on gift cards for restaurants and shops for Civil Servants
- The vouchers can be used in places like Greggs, Nandos and even Primark
- The Foreign Office splashed the most cash on its Civil Servants in the last year
- It comes as Civil Servants threaten strike action and many still work from home
Millions of pounds worth of Greggs, Nandos and Primark vouchers have been handed out to reward Civil Servants this year.
In 2022, almost £30 million of taxpayer money was used for gift cards and even cash rewards for good performance.
The amount spent was a significant increase on previous years, despite half of staff in some departments continuing to work from home post-Covid and failings in some Whitehall departments.
The vouchers, which go up to £100 per person, can be used in restaurants or shops, The Sun reports.
Almost £30 million was spent on restaurant and shopping vouchers for Civil Servants as a reward despite a large number of staff members working from home and failings in some Whitehall departments
This year £29.6 million of taxpayer money was used for rewards, an increase of £7 million on the £22.2 million spent in 2020 and a significant increase on the £17.9 million spent in 2018/19.
The Foreign Office was the department that splashed the most cash on its Civil Servants, spending £9.9 million, with some of the money being handed out as a cash bonus.
The Department for Work and Pensions spent £5.9 million on its Civil Servants in 2022 despite a third of its 96,000 staff not working in the office, according to the latest government occupancy stats.
The Home Office, that has continually come under fire this year for ongoing migrant crisis and passport backlogs, handed out £6.6million in vouchers, a significant rise from the £1.2million in 2018/19.
The vouchers were for restaurants such as Greggs and Nandos, and shops like Primark. Some staff were even given cash prizes. Pictured: Greggs gift card
The Cabinet Office, Department for Trade and Department of Culture, Media and Sport also saw the amount spent on vouchers rise.
The Health, Environment and Defence departments, however, refused to disclose the figures.
It comes as the head of the largest civil service union warned the Government that ‘co-ordinated and synchronised’ industrial action could take place in the New Year, including strikes from firefighters, teachers and junior doctors.
Speaking during the first set of strike action from the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), as thousands of Border Force staff walked out, the general secretary Mark Serwotka called for the Government to negotiate.
The Department for Work and Pensions spent £5.9 million on its staff in 2022 despite a third of its 96,000 staff not working in the office, according to the latest government occupancy stats. Pictured: Primark voucher
He told Sky News: ‘If we go into 2023 with millions of people suffering in-work poverty, including the government’s own staff, something has to be done.
‘So they either negotiate, or I believe we will see the action escalate.’
Post-pandemic, while Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was Chancellor, he imposed a public sector pay freeze for a year from April 2021.
The Head of the TaxPayers’ Alliance criticised the rewards, pointing to failings within the Health Department, such as long GP wait times, and failings over solving crime.
John O’Connell The Sun: ‘This is a slap in the face as civil servants threaten strikes — and when everything from getting GP appointments to solving crime seems broken.
The Home Office, that has continually come under fire this year for ongoing migrant crisis and passport backlogs, handed out £6.6million in vouchers, a significant rise from the £1.2million in 2018/19. Pictured: Nandos Gift Card
‘Maybe these vouchers would be reasonable if services were being delivered.
‘Families are tightening belts and perhaps public sector top brass should too.’
Labour MP Florence Eshalomi, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary, slammed the Government accusing it of double standards.
She said: ‘As ministers are refusing even to discuss nurses’ pay, we now discover they got around their own pay freeze by giving out record numbers of vouchers.’
In January thousands of nurses plan to walk out of hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland again, as the Royal College of Nursing continues to battle with the Government to receive an above-inflation pay rise.
It comes as the head of the largest civil service union warned the Government that ‘co-ordinated and synchronised’ industrial action could take place in the New Year, including strikes from firefighters, teachers and junior doctors. Pictured: Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) on the picket line at Gatwick this week
Sources told The Sun that the scheme previously occurred when Labour was in power more than a decade ago.
They also said voucher rewards were regularly used in the public and private sector.
A Government spokesman told The Sun: ‘Reward and recognition schemes have a positive impact on staff morale.
‘All individual awards follow an established approval process to ensure value for money.’
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