Heating Whitehall offices while empty during pandemic cost £12million
Heating and lighting Whitehall offices while they were empty during Covid pandemic cost us £12million, figures reveal
- Gas and electricity bills for empty Whitehall offices cost the taxpayers £12million
- Heating and lighting rose by £1.2million due to energy firms hiking prices
- Figures showed all but three headquarters were under two-thirds full last week
Taxpayers spent £12million heating and lighting Whitehall offices as they lay empty during the pandemic.
Gas and electricity bills for the main Government buildings rose by £1.2million in the year to March, an audit has found.
The 11 per cent increase is down to energy firms hiking prices – but covered a period when departments were deserted as Covid left most civil servants working from home, raising the prospect that lights and heating were left on in empty buildings.
The taxpayer spent £12millon on heating and lighting Whitehall offices during a period when departments were deserted as Covid left most civil servants working from home
Official figures show that all but three headquarters were still under two-thirds full last week with fewer than half of Foreign Office and HMRC staff at their desks.
Last night critics said households struggling to pay their own energy bills should not also be paying over the odds for the public sector’s. John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group, said: ‘It’s bad enough that taxpayers are paying so much more for their own energy bills, without paying extra for Whitehall’s too. Bureaucrats must act as if they’re the ones coughing up, seeking energy efficiencies and demanding a better deal, rather than just saddling taxpayers with extra costs.’
Gas and electricity bills for the main Government buildings rose by £1.2million in the year to March, an audit has found
Freedom of Information responses show that in 2020-2021, the year Britain was placed in lockdown, energy bills totalled £10.8million across Whitehall. This included £498,049 on gas and £8.8million on electricity. Another £1.5million was paid to the Government Property Agency under a shared scheme now known as the Whitehall Boiler System.
This was made up of £590,615 on gas, £9.4million on electricity and £2million on the Whitehall Boiler System.
A Government spokesman said: ‘Energy bills for government buildings have increased in line with global price rises, and coincides with the increased occupancy rate of offices.’ Efforts to cut emissions from buildings will save £1.4billion over three years, he added.
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