TaxPayers’ Alliance reveals £15 million of anti-eco Whitehall waste

Embargoed 00:01 Sunday 12 April 

Research from the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) shows that since 2014 Whitehall departments have spent £15,383,904 of taxpayers' money on environmentally damaging waste.

Freedom of information requests from last year, before the coronavirus crisis, reveal regular practices of unnecessarily using heating during the summer months, and taking taxis instead of more environmentally friendly forms of transport.

Summer heating in buildings and unnecessary departmental taxis are both a waste of taxpayers' money and produce needless carbon emissions. These practices stand out as particularly poor in light of the government's UK net zero target.

If it is to meet its own net zero goals, the government should practice what it preaches and ensure it is not wasting money on things which adversely impact the environment. 

Key findings 

  • From 2014-18, at least £15,383,904 was spent by Whitehall departments on taxis and summer heating.
  • Between 2016-17 and 2018-19, £14,590,284 was spent by 11 government departments on taxis for members of staff.
  • The department that spent the most on taxis was the Ministry of Defence, with a total spend of £3,498,317. Taxi costs at the department more than tripled between 2016-17 and 2018-19.
  • From 2014-2018, £793,621 was spent by five government departments on heating buildings during the summer.
  • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spent the most on heating buildings during the summer from 2014-2018 at a cost of £375,668.
  • Of this, the department spent £195,197 in 2018 alone, which was the joint warmest UK summer on record.

Darwin Friend, researcher at the TaxPayers' Alliance said: 

"When we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, it will be vital that government gets the public finances in order, focusing every penny on frontline services and cutting down on wasteful Whitehall spending.  

“Taxpayers facing the highest tax burden in over half a century will think it's deeply unfair for the government to be wasting their money on cabs and summer heating, when both seem completely out of kilter with the government's headline net zero commitment.

"Whitehall ought to get its own house in order and put a stop to these wasteful anti-eco practices as soon as possible."


TPA spokesmen are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)

Media contact:

Sam Packer
Media Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)

  1. Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) fights to reform taxes, reduce spending and protect taxpayers. Find out more about the TaxPayers' Alliance at

  2. TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.

  3. This research was fulfilled by issuing freedom of information (FOI) requests to all government departments. Full details are provided in the research paper

  4. On 25 March, the TaxPayers' Alliance published a statement on the coronavirus emergency.
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