Statement on payment cards
Last updated: 31/05/2011
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Cornwall Council has not spent £9 million
on credit cards as suggested by recent media reports.
The Council does not use credit cards as local
authorities are not allowed to have credit. The payments were
made using payment cards which work in a similar way to debit
The Council has also not spent millions of
pounds on foreign travel and meals. The figures provided in
the FOI response to Daily Telegraph had not been converted
from the original currencies – producing a misleadingly high
figure. The suggestion, therefore, that we spent £114,142 for
hotel costs in India for an educational exchange involving teachers
from Cornish schools was not true. This amount was actually in
Indian Rupees and would have been £1,645 in UK currency.
There are similar inaccuracies in the amounts
highlighted for restaurant payments – with one figure of £15,640
quoted for a restaurant in Japan during another educational
exchange. This amount is in Japanese Yen and would be £118 in
These payment cards were originally introduced
by the Government as they are a cheaper and more efficient way of
paying for goods and services – saving an average of £33 per
transaction. The system is also popular with suppliers are it
is much faster than submitting invoices to the Council.
The Council currently has 509 cards in
use of which 154 are allocated to schools and there are very strict
financial controls in place to regulate their use. Individual
cards have a maximum limit on them – usually around £1,000 –
with any payment about this limit having to be authorised by a
senior member of staff.
Posted 31 May 2011