Government defends use of staff from energy giants
Monday 31 December 2012
The Government is paying staff from powerful firms including energy giants and a leading bank to work at the heart of Whitehall, official documents have revealed.
The papers – released under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act – show that employees from the "big six" energy firms such as British Gas owner Centrica have been seconded to work at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).
Staff from Barclays, Rolls-Royce and National Grid are also on secondments at the Decc, along with employees from oil companies such as Shell and ConocoPhillips.
The documents show that a total of 23 employees have been seconded in all, with the majority of positions being funded by the Government. Only staff from npower owner RWE and Shell have been seconded for free.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy said the secondments were "standard practice" in government and that the secondees brought knowledge and expertise that was "vital" in helping the Decc to do its job.
But the secondments have been condemned by critics who question the wisdom of allowing such firms to have access of this level to government departments.
Joss Garman, political director of Greenpeace, said: "Centrica, Shell and RWE are corporations that make their huge profits from the fossil fuels that are warming our planet. Nobody will believe that these vested interests are lending staff to Decc out of charity.
"To the contrary, they have a clear financial interest in putting their people into key positions where they can exert a malign influence that runs counter to the public interest."
Green Party politician Caroline Lucas, who submitted some of the FOIs, said it was "outrageous" that taxpayers were footing the bill to second employees from fossil-fuel giants.
The MP for Brighton Pavilion said the move was particularly galling at a time when British Gas customers are struggling to meet the rises in their energy bills, while the firm was on course to make a £1.4bn profit this year.
But a Decc spokesman said: "We ensure any secondee is bound by relevant professional codes of practice."
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...