15th September 2021, 19:20
The GSD says the Government's response to its concerns on Parliamentary travel costs fails to address the issue raised, and is full of lies and half-truths.
Spokesperson Roy Clinton says he did not choose to travel in club class, and was handed a ticket by Parliament staff.
Mr Clinton says he wanted to change his booking to fly economy, as his party believes that public coffers should only pay for short-haul economy flights given the state of public finances.
He says this practice should be extended to short-haul flights flown by Ministers – again for the same reasons.
Mr Clinton says he questions the Chief Minister's assertion that only he flies Club Class and that that practice has ended for Ministers. He says a cursory look at pre-covid travel shows that Dr Garcia incurred travel expenses of more than £20,000 pounds in 2019 and nearly £38,000 in 2018. He says the vast majority of each of his flights to London cost in excess of a thousand pounds – often significantly more, and the same goes for Minister Costa and some other Ministers during the same period. He says if a flight to London is costing the public purse more than £1,000 it is unlikely to be an economy class ticket.
Mr Clinton says he asked for his ticket to be changed to economy, but was told that these tickets were booked as non-refundable Business class tickets. He says and Elliott Phillips have now asked to be allowed to pay the price difference between Economy and Club directly to the Government’s travel agent, and hopes the Government Minister will do the same.
Mr Clinton says he understands that this is an embarrassment to the Chief Minister as Minster for Finance, but adds he must accept responsibility for failing to ensure all economic savings have been identified in this time of crisis in our public finances.