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Bonkers Blog August 2011

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17 August - Would you credit it?

VisaWhen the first credit cards made an appearance in this country in 1966 I thought they were the invention of the devil and that if the idea caught on the 2% (or thereabouts) commission would make the bankers very rich and that living on credit would make everyone else poor. I wasn’t far wrong although maybe not for the right reasons and there is no getting away from the fact that ‘plastic’ is very convenient and it has become essential for buying on the net. As such I am not one of those who think that councils shouldn’t use them. Sometimes they might help to buy more cheaply or obtain a specialist item required urgently. On the other hand maybe some of the credit card expenditure made by councils will raise a few eyebrows.

Here’s a selection that I found on a list of Bexley council’s credit card expenditure that dropped into my Inbox…


Annual Membership of Club Toyota £68 per year
Passport Office. Several at £98 each
EasyJet £105
The Leather Bottle (public house, Belvedere) £66
British Airways £624
Rail Europe £928
Ryan Air £815
Ten Pin Bowling £1,350
Surfing equipment £1,288
Canoes and kayaks £2,434
Crayford Greyhound track £228
Air France £602
Alton Towers £215
Aer Lingus £404
Eurostar £506
P&O Ferries £217
Harrods £401
Zleep Hotel (Denmark) £388
Hotel Escurial (France) £193
British Canoe Union £1,351

There are hundreds of similar entries, my guess is that a lot is for reforming young criminals and maybe for entertainment for disadvantaged children, however the list also provides little insights into how Bexley council spends our money. The mayor’s office staff for example seem to have acquired the habit of nipping across the road to Sainsbury’s and blowing up to a hundred or so on bits and pieces for parties.

The above figures are extracted from credit card payments (over £50) totaling £737,383 over the last two years. The higher priced items are the total of several individual payments. Sums to nearest whole pound.


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