Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Credit where credit's due

Here is my latest FoI request which, assuming the cheeky monkeys don't declare vexatious will produce some very very interesting results!

Dear Chums

When thinking of our tough economic times I am reminded of the wise words of Dr Hook. No, not the 18th century natural philosopher, but the more important pop-country-rock group of the 1970s. Managing budgets is much like being in love with a beautiful woman- it's hard.

If you imagine Dr Hook’s paean concerns not the turmoils of a jealous romantic attraction but the rather less poetic task of managing an in-year fiscal budget, you will get my drift. To get yourself in the mood, sing these lyrics to yourself while mentally picturing eight hundred lines on twelve linked Excel spreadsheets:

When you're in love with a beautiful woman
It's hard
When you're in love with a beautiful woman
You know it's hard
   It's hard, you know it gets so hard
Everybody wants her, everybody loves her
Everybody wants to take your baby home

At a micro level many hard working Christian families are struggling to balance their books. Myself and the adorable Mrs T are no exception. We have decided to review all out goings and see where we can make cuts (whoops, I mean savings).

I am pleased to see that Uncle Eric is doing the same at DCLG and opening up the books to be scrutinised by the army of armchair auditors. I note with interest that all purchases made on the government credit card over £500 has been published. But does this go far enough?

Personally, I have never popped out at lunch time to get a cheese slice and Belgian bun from Greggs and ended wandering into to Currys and buying a fridge-freezer on a whim. Neither have I stumbled into DFS on my way home after a few too many shandies and randomly purchased a 3- piece imitation leather suite on the plastic only to instantly regret it when I get home to see I have already have a brand new suite in my front room.

I have, though, on numerous occasions woken up with a half eaten kebab stuffed in my coat pocket or found myself filling my cake-hole with with crisps and chocolates after my wholesome and healthy lunch.
It seems obvious to me that big expenditures are usually well researched and thought through. The smaller purchases are often bought on a whim, not needed and often do not present value for money. It is the small purchases that add up. It is also the small purchases that often hide the more embarrassing practices. Last week I had some explaining to do to Mrs T about my subscriptions to various jazz mags - thankfully she understands I need an outlet for my frustrations, and was thankful that a little splurge on Thelonius Monk does the trick.

My request is for all GPC expenditure under £500 since May 2010. If this could be supplied in the same format as the published expenditure over £500 that would be helpful (see http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/gpcdata)

Secondly can I also request how many cards are held by DCLG staff and can you provide a list of
job titles that are authorised to use the cards?

Finally if you could supply me with the credit card number, expiry date and 3 digit security number that would really help me.

Yours ever indebtedly



  1. Mr Tickles I applaud you!

  2. Mr T - again you have bought joy to our sad office. Please keep blogging.

  3. Sorry to hear that no-one else will employ a useless bunch of pen-pushers