Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Monday, 26 March 2012 12:41 UK

Public Accounts Committee

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Senior civil servants have defended the use of government procurement cards, during an evidence session with MPs on 26 March 2012.

The committee took evidence from Ian Watmore and John Collington of the Cabinet Office, and Jon Thompson from the Ministry of Defence.

The session followed a critical report on the use of the cards by the National Audit Office (NAO), published earlier this month.

The report claimed that controls over the use of the cards, which are a form of Whitehall "credit card", were not strict enough, with the government accused of complacency.

Some £322m was spent on cards in 2010-11, but the NAO said there was "a large backlog of unapproved transactions" in some departments.

The NAO examined their use in five departments - the Department of Health, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Justice.

The MoD accounted for three quarters of the £322m spent in 2010-11. Spending in the first half of the 2011-12 financial year totalled £149m.

Public accounts committee membership

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