Cabinet Office Cover Up Taxpayer-Funded MacBook Splurge

big ben apple

Nearly all the civil servants in the Cabinet Office who were offered a free laptop on the taxpayer chose an Apple MacBook Air. But they don’t want you to know it…

2000 staff were given a choice between a selection of either a premium MacBook or a less top-of-the-range Dell or Lenovo laptop, as part of the Cabinet Office’s Choose Your Own Device scheme. Unsurprisingly, Techno heard on the grapevine that most staff plumped for the £849 13″ MacBook Air. Yet the Cabinet Office are refusing to answer our FoI requesting a breakdown of the figures, spuriously claiming that it would be “inappropriate” to indicate “favouritism“:

“Section 43 is engaged on the basis that this IT devices is a hotly contested digital market. It would be inappropriate for HMG to provide any indication of favouritism or indicate that another product is inferior it would have an effect on the market. The release of information concerning the number of staff choosing each laptop could have a direct impact on the ability of suppliers to compete on a level playing field in current and future commercial activities; Preserving relationships of trust and confidence and the free flow of information between the government and suppliers is paramount. The disclosure of the requested information against the wishes of the suppliers would jeopardise this relationship, which is fundamentally important in maintaining for the most effective delivery of public services. After weighing up the competing public interest considerations, we have determined that the balance of public interest is in favour of withholding the requested information.”

Which is the most comical FoI response Guido has had in a while. So much for the new age of openness and transparency… 

At Last! Automatic Union Funding Faces Axe

The reforming zeal of Francis Maude may be elsewhere post-election, but there are early signs of encouragement from his successor. Matt Hancock today announces the abolition of trade union ‘check-off’, the archaic system where union subscriptions are automatically taken from civil servants’ pay packets in a process funded by the taxpayer. Instead, public sector workers can choose to opt in to pay it and the subsequent political levy. Expect the unions to kick off, the militant PCS took Eric Pickles to court at great expense to the taxpayer when he tried to abolish check-off at DCLG. This entirely reasonable move affects 3.8 million public sector workers – at last trade union funding enters the 21st century…

Guido’s Fashion Tips: Labour Leadership Edition

Where does Andy Burnham buy his suits? GQ have asked the big question:

“God, do I have to… This is going to get me in trouble. It’s an Armani suit, this one. [Is it off the peg?] Oh God, yeah. To redeem myself a little bit, I only ever go in the sale time. Boxing Day every year, I take myself off and get two suits at half the price of what they normally are.”

A typical Armani Collezione suit made from virgin wool will set you back the best part of a grand. Burnham insisted his other suits are only Jaeger, where a navy wool mohair modern suit, not dissimilar to the one he is wearing above, costs a mere £700. Liverpool has over a dozen bespoke tailors, man of t’people Andy has his made in Milan…

The Telegraph have meanwhile located Jeremy Corbyn’s vest supplier, Ali Rifat of B&H Quality and Underwear and Socks in Nag’s Head market. He sells ’em to Jez for £1.50…

EU Sock Puppets Revealed

Earlier in the week when “Universities UK” said it was essential that the UK stayed in the EU, Guido smelt a rat. Sure enough, they are in the pay of the EU. Dan Hannan has produced this new video showing who gets those €uros. The sock puppets range from the CBI to Friends of the Earth, who then speak up for the gravy train continuing. Quelle surprise….

How Much Would Bercow’s £172 Trip Cost in a Taxi?

Even less in an Uber

Bercow’s £172 Expenses Bill to Drive 0.7 Miles

MPs have been getting it in the neck this week for 9p mileage claims, but this is something to really get peeved about. Some top digging by Press Association has found John Bercow billed the taxpayer £172 to be chauffeur-driven to a conference at Carlton House Terrace, just 0.7 miles from parliament. And that’s not all:

  • Bercow used an official car to travel to Canterbury to see Justin Welby enthroned in 2013 – at a cost of £524
  • He travelled 1.5 miles to dinner at the Dorchester Hotel, billing £144
  • Somehow managed to blow £168 travelling from King’s Cross to Speaker’s House
  • Billed £367 to be driven to the University of Bedfordshire, where he gave a lecture on reforming parliament and warn about the consequences of the expenses scandal
  • Kept a chauffeur-driven car waiting while he attended a memorial service for Malcolm Wicks in Croydon, costing £289 for five hours

He is the “reforming Speaker”…

Clegg Whores Himself Out For $55,000

Poor Nick Clegg has seen his £134,565 Deputy Prime Minister’s salary plummet to a measly £67,000 now he is merely a lowly MP. How will he cope?

By hiring Leading Authorities, a Washington based agent, to manage his after-dinner speaking engagements. Boasting of his “internationalist approach to world affairs”, Clegg says he is available to give speeches “in five European languages”:

“For UK audiences, Clegg shares his experiences about the future of politics and the direction of the UK, specifically relating to the EU. For international groups, he explores how current UK politics affects international relations.”

How much will it set you back to book him? A cool $55,000.

Asian audiences with deeper pockets are asked to “please inquire”.

Seems a bit steep… Ken Clarke will do you a drab speech about Europe for under 10 grand…

Keith Vaz Fingered For £100 Claim

It’s been a busy week for Keith Vaz, first accused of abusing his position and now embroiled in another mysterious scandal over his election expenses. His local paper report that Vaz spent £100 to use the premises on Uppingham Road, Leicester – his own taxpayer-funded constituency office. Vaz’s election agent Piara Singh Clair explains: “we did it because we needed a room and it would have been expensive to hire another one. It was a nominal sum”, bizarrely adding that no money had actually changed hands despite it being declared as an expense. If no money was actually spent, why was it falsely declared to the Electoral Commission? Curiouser and curiouser…

Moneybags Burnham Trails Despite Six Figure Funding Bonanza

A Guido investigation can reveal that Jeremy Corbyn is leading Andy Burnhan in the Labour leadership race despite Burnham raising over £100,000 more in donations.

Burnham has declared £132,000 of donations towards his leadership bid, accepting cash from lefty doctors, […]

+ READ MORE +

UKIP U-Turn on Short Money

At the height of the explosive UKIP row over Short money, Nigel Farage outbid Douglas Carswell by insisting that UKIP would not take a penny of the £650,000 to which the party is entitled:

“I’m going to recommend that we

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Sepp Blatter Money Shot

What an image:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Mystery of EU’s £250,000 Belgium ‘Aid’ Bung

The sinister sounding European Development Fund is the EU’s aid arm, splurging €22.7 billion a year on “aid for development cooperation in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific countries”. Or so they claim.

Analysis by the Taxpayers’ Alliance reveals […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Liam Fox shreds Cameron’s Calais scaremongering:

“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”

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