EXECUTIVES in charge of a £22bn nuclear decommissioning contract were yesterday criticised after their expenses claims came to light – showing they billed the taxpayer £714 to provide a taxi for a cat.
The publicly-funded Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) consortium ran up hundreds of thousands of pounds in problematic claims at the Sellafield site in Cumbria between 2008 and 2012.
An internal audit report shows that – in addition to cabs for felines – NMP executives expensed £2,795 for flights to the US Masters golf tournament, claimed an £82 per person dinner in France, and billed £719 for Amazon purchases without providing a receipt.
“A workforce that is being asked to accept many changes – including pay restraint – will have many questions,” local Labour MP Jamie Reed told City A.M. “Taxis for cats and flights to the US Masters simply beggars belief.”
Both the public accounts select committee and National Audit Office have recently criticised NMP, which has run Sellafield Limited since 2008. The disputed expenses occurred when NMP executives – mainly US citizens – were placed on secondment to Sellafield Limited.
Yesterday NMP – which is owned by the UK’s Amec, France’s Areva and US firm URS – said some claims had been “incorrectly registered” but insisted there is no suggestion of impropriety. It said it has now reimbursed all inaccurate claims.
Last night it was unclear which executive’s cat was in the taxi – or how it paid the fare.