More than £100,000 worth of electrical goods have been stolen from the Cabinet Office and Downing Street in the last four years.
Ministers admitted in a response to a parliamentary question on Wednesday that equipment valued at a total of £102,553 has gone missing from one of the most secure buildings in Britain. The list of mislaid goods dates back to 1997, the year in which Labour came to power.
The shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, John Bercow, has been posing written parliamentary questions on stolen ministry property to all government departments in the last fortnight. The Conservative party argues that such losses are costing taxpayers thousands of pounds, and are on the rise.
Items reported missing from the Cabinet Office and Downing Street include 37 computers, four mobile phones, a bicycle and a car stereo.
According to the Commons written answer, the cost of items stolen from Downing Street has more than doubled since Tony Blair moved into office. In 1997 to 1998, reported cases of lost property totalled £15,290, whereas in 2000 to 2001, this figure had risen to £33,574.
Earlier this month, The Ministry of Defence (MoD) refused to respond to Parliamentary questions, tabled in late October, which revealed that nearly 600 computers had disappeared from the department in the last five years. Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow showed that government computer systems were infiltrated by hackers on at least 64 occasions in the last five years. A total of 1,354 pieces of government-owned computer equipment also went missing in the same period.