Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

'Clothing payouts' in civil service

A whistleblower claims civil servants can claim for suits and tights damaged at work

Civil servants can receive compensation for clothes damaged at work even if they are to blame, it has been claimed.

The Daily Mail said it had been passed a dossier detailing the sums employees can expect to be reimbursed for based on the original price and the age of garments.

They included, for example, £225 for a £300 woollen suit that was 12 months old, falling to £150 if it was two years old. A £5 pair of tights snagged at work could result in the wearer getting £4.50 back, it was claimed.

But the Cabinet Office denied there was any "free-for-all" on clothes replacements and that compensation was only justified where there was a "reasonable case" for it.

The Civil Service Management Code states that compensation for damaged personal property should only be made where there is "no negligence on the part of the officer".

The Mail reported that it had been handed documents outlining potential claims by a whistleblower who had recently joined the civil service from the private sector. The whistleblower told the paper: "My jaw hit the floor when I was told about all the perks I would be entitled to. There is no way you would get anything like this in the private sector - companies would go bust and the economy would collapse if you did."

The claims come as Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude is trying to strip out waste in Whitehall while the Government is making cuts in the wider public sector.

But Tory MP Philip Davies said: "The civil service seems to be living in a parallel universe. It just goes to show how much more Whitehall waste the Government can cut," he said.

A TaxPayers' Alliance spokesman said: "It's absurd that civil servants are able to claim taxpayers' money if they ladder their tights at work or wear out their shoes in the course of doing their job."

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "We are currently reviewing terms and conditions as part of our civil service reform programme, all outdated and obsolete policies are being reformed or scrapped - any abuse is not tolerated."

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