Plymouth City Council’s quirkiest purchases revealed

The use of council credit cards by Plymouth City Council has provoked some controversy, in view of some of the more unusual purchases that have been made with the cards. In addition to some strange educational supplies, parking fines have been paid and a wide range of activity sessions and corporate events have been funded.

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The use of credit cards

The council claims that the cards enable it to conduct business more easily and that the balances are paid off each month. Businesses are able to receive payments they are owed more quickly and with less paperwork involved. A spokesman for Plymouth City Council said that there were specific rules in place regarding the use of the cards, and that currently, the council had three separate accounts for different purposes, with a total of 191 cards between them.

Plymouth is not the only Devon council to face criticism over spending. According to Devon Live, leaders of North Devon Council face accusations of wasting money on consultants employed to advise about improvements to Pilton Park, including the possible rerouting of a river.

Plymouth council’s spending

Trips for youth groups have been paid for using council credit cards. This includes £165 for a day trip to the London Dungeons, and payments to Escape Rooms for team building corporate events. The value of team building events, such as those available from, is not in question. However, the council also spent £78 on edible insects, to help to promote National Science week and £50,000 on advertising events on Facebook.

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A party for children new to foster care and their families was funded, and balloons and the hire of a balloon pump were also paid for out of council funds. Goods such as maternity products and car seats were purchased from Mothercare, and more than £29,000 was spent on Love2Shop vouchers, which were given to people leaving care, to help them to set up home, and as rewards to participants in various activities run by the Sports Development Unit. The vouchers were also offered to incentivise participants to encourage friends to attend the activity sessions.

Many different items totalling thousands of pounds were also bought from Amazon, and the council spokesman claimed that Amazon frequently offers best value and a quick service for small items.

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