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Embargoed 00:01 Friday 09 November 2012

Jet Set DECC: Department of Energy and Climate Change spends £1.5 million on 3,496 flights

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) can today reveal that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has spent over £1.5 million on 3,496 flights over the last two and half years. Of these trips, 362 were business class at a cost of nearly £600,000. The destinations of these flights include far-flung locations from Johannesburg to Jakarta while DECC staff have even flown business class on flights within the UK. Given that flights produce greenhouse gases, as well as being expensive, it is difficult to reconcile DECC’s rhetoric on climate change with the number of flights the department has taken.


The key findings of this research are:
  • The Department of Energy and Climate Change has spent over £1.5 million on 3,496 flights over the last two and half years. This includes the 2010-11 and 2011-12 financial years, and up to the end of August of the 2012-13 financial year.
  • 362 flights were taken in business class over that period at a total cost of nearly £600,000.
  • 3,017 flights were taken in economy class over that period at a total cost of over £835,000.
  • DECC spent just over £250,000 on domestic flights over the period. 39 of these flights were taken in business class. This includes a £460 flight from Aberdeen to London, and two flights between Manchester and London that cost £188 each.
  • Business class flights were booked between London other cities in the UK such as Glasgow and Edinburgh.  
  • The most expensive individual flight taken was a business class booking from Cancun to London, costing £5,792. Two business class flights from London to Cape Town cost £5,396 each, while two flights to Santiago cost £5,190 each.
  • One flight from London to Lisbon was taken on first class at a cost of £500.
  • Other destinations for DECC flights that cost over £4,000 included: Auckland, Cape Town, Nairobi, Jakarta, Washington, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
  • Business class flights were booked between London and other cities in Europe such as Budapest (£699), Madrid (£271), Cologne (£370), and Berlin (£474).



Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said:

"Despite being one of the departments making air travel more expensive for people paying their own way, the Department of Energy and Climate has spent an astonishing amount of taxpayers' money on flights. This looks like breathtaking hypocrisy and extravagant waste from a department which can't be trusted with more and more of our money, while others work hard to make savings.

"Officials urgently need to explain why they spend so much money on so many business class flights in particular. If Ministers can't provide a satisfactory explanation for the number and cost of the air fares their department is racking up, then there have to be serious sanctions for officials who have left taxpayers with such an unfair bill."
 

Media contacts

To arrange broadcast interviews contact:
 
Robert Oxley
Campaign Manager, The TaxPayers' Alliance
07795 084 113

To discuss the implications of the research please contact:

John O'Connell
Research Director, The TaxPayers' Alliance


24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113

Notes to editors

1. Established in 2004 and now with 75,000 supporters, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) is Britain’s independent, grassroots campaign for lower taxes and better government. Find out more about the TaxPayers' Alliance at www.taxpayersalliance.com

2. The full report can be viewed here: http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/deccflights.pdf

3. The information contained in this report is based on a Freedom of Information Request which was sent to DECC to establish exactly how much it spends on air travel, and where those flights went to.
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