BOE Adopts New Expenses Policy After $14,000 Flights Drew Ire

(Bloomberg) -- The Bank of England is to adopt a new travel and expenses policy after flights amounting to 11,000 pounds ($14,000) and a series of taxi trips costing over 400 pounds prompted U.K. lawmakers to seek a review of its spending.

From March 1 next year, expenses must have a “clear, justifiable business rationale” and receipts must be attached, according to the new policy posted on the BOE’s website. Employees will not be allowed to fly business class on flights under six hours, except to accommodate disability needs or information security reasons, like a governor working on sensitive matters.

The BOE was forced to review its policy after lawmakers said in June its expenses had “disturbing echoes” of a scandal that rocked the U.K. Parliament in 2009. Simon Clarke, a Conservative Party lawmaker, then highlighted the 100,000 pounds spent on the central bank’s annual summer party in 2016, as well as travel expenses submitted by two external Financial Policy Committee members amounting to 390,000 pounds over 2 1/2 years.

“Given the staggeringly high level of expenses claimed by some members of the Bank of England’s policy committees, the review of its expenses policy is welcome, ” said Nicky Morgan, chair of Parliament’s Treasury Committee. The panel will examine the BOE’s expenses and the review itself “in detail” when the Court of Directors gives evidence in the new year.

The new policy caps the daily cost of meals at 40 pounds, excluding breakfast, and allows staff to spend as much as 12.50 pounds in out-of-hours meals on evenings and weekends, the document showed. It also restricts employees from booking hotels that cost more than 125 pounds a night in the U.K. and $275 in North America.

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