By Jonathan Isaby
The abolition of the Audit Commission was one of Eric Pickles' earlier announcements as Local Government Secretary.
Yet today its disregard for taxpayer value for money is still coming to the fore.
Before its abolition was announced, reveals tonight's Evening Standard, the Audit Commission splashed out on a couple of hundred luxury office chairs:
Britain's spending watchdog lavished £53,000 of taxpayers' money on office chairs including designer models costing nearly £900 each, the Evening Standard reveals today… In the last year it bought:
- Four "modern and elegant, eye-catching" Kinnarps Omni Swivel chairs at £854 each.
- Two Naughtone Hush chairs at £840 each which offer "sanctuary from the everyday hubbub".
- Eleven Kinnarps Bone chairs at £562 each.
In total, the commission bought 224 office chairs in total in the last 12 months, including 125 Godfrey Syrett "ergo plus high back asynchro" models at just over £200 each. The cheapest chair was £99.
DCLG minister Grant Shapps has been quick to condemn the spending
"It seems that whilst the country was in recession the Audit Commission went on a massive shopping spree buying designer chairs. This kind of casual attitude to spending taxpayers' cash undermines faith in the public sector and is yet more evidence of how under Labour the Audit Commission forgot that its job was to protect the public purse."