Why do credit cards exist? To let people spend money they don’t have, right? A new sofa here, a beer and a burger down Wetherspoons there – it all adds up and it has to be paid for somehow. That’s where credit cards come in. Only government departments don’t get to use credit cards, but it doesn’t seem to be putting them off spending some phantom cash too.
According to The Guardian, Defra has overspent to the tune of £230 million on farm subsidies and green issues. Says the Grauniad:
The report notes that Defra “was the only department to overspend against its capital departmental limit in 2006-07” and in one section criticises it for having “insufficient evidence of a methodical and structured approach to scrutinising plans and budgets”.
The result was that the department had to impose spending cuts to balance the books – on canals, conserving rare birds and wetlands, and on recycling and research into animal diseases. Some 1,400 staff were also asked to take voluntary redundancy.