Taxpayers money escapes scrutiny

Tougher monitoring powers were demanded by the committee after MPs discovered that at least £12 billion of taxpayers’ money spent each year is not subject to proper parliamentary scrutiny.

The money funds a range of public services through executive agencies, quangos and even private companies that are able to evade checks by independent auditors. They range from the Government’s New Deal for the unemployed to the private operators running six prisons, the Student Loans Company, and many housing associations.

One of the biggest contracts is with the Chessington Computer Centre, which processes the annual £4 billion Civil Service pay bill. Due to privatisation the new owners do not have to provide the National Audit Office with access to their records.

The cross-party group of MPs demanded statutory rights of access for the Comptroller and Auditor General over all non-departmental bodies that spend public money, including private companies.

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