The invoiced expenditure on taxi fares for the Northern Ireland Office, excluding its agencies and executive NDPBs, in the past five years is shown in the following table.
Year Amount 2007-08 £42,455 2006-07 £28,031 2005-06 £24,265 2004-05 £24,856 2003-04 £19,213
Changes to transport arrangements in 2007-08 have generated overall savings even after allowing for the increase in taxi costs. Further taxi fares were claimed by employees as reimbursable expenses but due to the processes involved in making these payments, costs can only be provided at disproportionate cost.
The Northern Ireland Office keeps the cost of travel on official business under regular review. Departmental guidance requires all staff to use the most efficient means of transport taking account of travel costs, time and incidental expenses, for example, the cost of car parking. The use of taxis, when compared to all the alternatives including public transport, is at times the most cost-efficient means of travel for the purpose of official business. The policy applies to all grades of staff.