Sir Peter Hendy may have left Transport for London but the organisation’s slowness in publishing expenses claims means there’s still a little bit of life left in the ‘How much is Hendy costing us?’ story.
Between January and March (it may be August but the figures have only recently been published), Sir Peter claimed £1,935.83 in meals and taxis – this accounts for two thirds of the total £2,841.15 claimed by all senior management in the period.
A whopping £1,230 of the former Commissioner’s claims went on taxis – no doubt because of that packed diary the TfL press office likes to cite when asked about his travelling habits.
Sadly for Sir Peter it looks as if the days of having his own virtual limo at taxpayer expense may be over.
The expenses policy for Network Rail, where he’s gone to add some much needed competence to the organisation’s upper management ranks, is markedly less generous than TfL’s and states that: “The use of taxis will be permitted and costs reimbursed only in exceptional circumstances.”
Unless Network Rail speaks a different language to the rest of us, having a routinely busy diary and overseeing high value contracts isn’t likely to class as “exceptional circumstances”.
And, unlike at TfL where it’s routine practice to claim for a taxi journey without saying where you went, Network Rail’s policy is that: “Full details of each journey are required to be shown and receipts provided”
So it looks like Sir Peter may have to rough it on the bus and Tube with the rest of us a little more often than he’s used to.
And if that doesn’t make you feel sorry for him, wait until you (and he) finds out about the policy on claiming back the costs of meals. Compared to his last haunt it’s barbarically stingy.
The policy states that “all meals at meetings must be capped at a maximum £5 per person” and that evening meals, capped at £25, are only claimable “where an employee is working at least five miles away from their normal place of work and will not reach home before 21.00 hours.”
A helpful Network Rail spokesperson confirmed to me that Sir Peter’s new office is located within the organisation’s 1 Eversholt Street HQ. This is about one and a half miles from the Groucho Club where he usually likes to wine & dine guests so, tragically, it looks like the days of charging taxpayers for £40 bottles of wine and £32 legs of lamb (plus side dishes and tips of course) for his “working dinner” may finally be over.