SNAG YOUR TIGHTS,GET A PAYOUT! Revealed: Civil Servants Are Allowed to Claim for Everyday Wear-and-Tear of Their Clothes - and Taxpayers Foot Bill

Daily Mail (London), February 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

SNAG YOUR TIGHTS,GET A PAYOUT! Revealed: Civil Servants Are Allowed to Claim for Everyday Wear-and-Tear of Their Clothes - and Taxpayers Foot Bill


Byline: Jason Groves and Tim Shipman

SENIOR civil servants are claiming taxpayerfunded compensation if they ladder their tights or snag their suits.

A leaked dossier on pay and perks has revealed that they can make claims running into hundreds of pounds for damaged clothing, handbags and shoes - even if their department was not to blame for the mishap. The rules mean that a male employee who damaged a [pounds sterling]300 woollen suit would be paid [pounds sterling]225 if it was 12 months old and [pounds sterling]150 if it was two years old.

A female civil servant ripping a [pounds sterling]5 pair of tights at work can expect [pounds sterling]4.50, even if it was her own fault.

Last night MPs accused mandarins of living in 'a parallel universe' after it emerged that they can even claim handouts from the public purse for battered old shoes that are more than five years old and items that are simply 'lost'.

Documents passed to the Daily Mail by a Whitehall whistleblower reveal that the perk is just one of an array of benefits lavished on Britain's 500,000 civil servants.

The details are an embarrassment for Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who boasted this week that he was making enormous strides in stripping out waste in the civil service. He said: 'We are creating a much leaner, more effective Whitehall machine that manages its finances like the best-run businesses and demands the best return for public money.

'This Government has been relentlessly hunting down waste and shaking Whitehall up.'

What he failed to mention was that departments still compensate employees for loss or damage to personal property that 'was caused through its negligence' or due to 'actions and omissions' by 'members of staff or contractors'.

But civil servants can also receive 'goodwill payments' when 'neither the department nor you was negligent in causing the loss or damage to personal property'.

One document provides a complex ready reckoner detailing how much staff can claim.

The compensation is paid out at generous rates, taking only slight account of wear and tear.

Under the rules, clothes made from a majority of natural fibres such as cotton and silk are judged to lose just a quarter of their value each year.

Garments made from polyester depreciate by 40 per cent for the first year and 20 per cent each following year up to a total of four years.

Thus a ripped two-year-old silk blouse worth [pounds sterling]80 would attract compensation of [pounds sterling]40 and the owner of a polyester garment of the same price would get [pounds sterling]32.

It is not known how much money is claimed each year in compensation.

The dossier was leaked by an 'appalled' former private sector worker who recently took up a position in a Whitehall department.

The whistleblower said: '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. …

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