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Press releases

British Workers Skim a Billion off the Top via Fraudulent Expenses Claims

1st Apr 2008


MPs might be in hot water over their elaborate expenses at the moment but new research has revealed they aren't the only ones living the high life on other people's money. Cheeky British workers are swindling their bosses by over a 1 billion a year on spurious expense claims including plastic surgery, a new car, a diamond engagement ring, escorts, council tax, a honeymoon, Viagra and even a goat.



Findings also revealed workers are embezzling their employer's money to add a touch of glamour to their homes in the name of work. Respondents admitted buying furniture, home entertainment, refurbishing their homes with a new bathroom, kitchen, gym and even wallpaper and paint to spruce up their homes.



Listed below are some of the other outrageous claims highlighted in the Travelodge research:



- New motorbike
- Private number plate for a BMW
- Hiring a private investigator to find evidence to start divorce proceedings
- Pet hamster called Barry for the office
- Lapdancers
- 1000 hair extensions
- A new garden shed which was converted into an - office
- Charity donations
- Luxury holidays to Africa, USA and Europe
- Dancing lessons


The budget chain survey of 3000 British employees identified the typical worker pockets an extra 17.00 each month that they claim. This means claimants make an extra 204.00 a year through dodgy expense claims, totaling a whopping 9,078** over a working lifetime.



Guy Parsons, Travelodge Chief Operating Officer said "In today's climate, companies cannot afford to splurge workers on ridiculous non work related expense claims which is costing bosses over 1 billion a year.



"Even tweaks on everyday claims such as taxis, mileage and the odd bottle of wine can really rack up a business bill over the year. With the new financial year fast approaching this is the ideal time for employers to adopt a low-cost culture, starting by reviewing their expenses policy first."



Further research findings identified a smug 43% of British workers believe swindling expense claims is a legitimate way of making extra cash and 45% of people said all their colleagues are 'doing it'. An astonishing 84% of those polled said they didnt feel guilty about inventing claims.


More men at 22% have used their expense account to wine and dine the opposite sex at prestigious restaurants in contrast to just nine per cent of women.


Despite rampant claims fiddling, only eight per cent of employees have been caught and sacked for fiddling their expenses. A shocking 60% of managers have let their team members get away with making a false expense claim.


The top three expense scams exposed by respondents were:



- Ask for extra taxi receipts and use them to claim back false taxi transport
- Add extra mileage when submitting an expense claim
- Use a cheap restaurant to entertain a business client and use an expensive restaurant for personal use. When submitting the claim use the expensive receipt


Ends



For further information, please contact

Shakila Ahmed

Travelodge
T: 01844 35 8638
M: 07802 702 499

Notes to Editor

The research was conducted by OnePoll amongst 3000 British workers and Desk Demon in March 2008

Details on the outrageous claims:

The goat was a charity gift via Oxfam

Plastic surgery includes a face lift, new nose and tummy tuck.

Calculations

29,000,000 workers in the UK

18% of workers confess to fiddling expenses

Average person over claims by 17.00 a month

17.00 x 12 months = 204 a year

*204 x 5 220 000 workers = 1.06488 billion

**204 x 44.5 working years = 9,078.00



About Travelodge

The first budget hotel brand to launch in the UK in 1985, Travelodge now operates 330 hotels (over 20,000 rooms) - nine in Ireland, three in Spain and the rest in the UK. Travelodge aims to be the biggest hotel operator in London by the 2012 Olympics with over 7,000 rooms in the capital.



Six and a half million people stayed with Travelodge last year and 87% of reservations are currently made online at travelodge.co.uk, where room rates start at 19 a night. The chain employs 5,500 staff and is owned by Dubai International Capital.


Shakila Ahmed

Head of Consumer PR

Direct Line: 01844 35 8638

Mobile: 07802 702 499

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