Further evidence of massive overspending at the National Union of Students has come to light in documents seen by The THES . The discovery follows previous leaked papers that spoke of a "culture of unnecessary expenditure" having developed in the organisation.
A print-out dating from May shows financial year-to-date expenditure against budget for the ten months to April 30 2001. Most alarming is spending on National Executive Committee priority campaigns, which overshot the £50,250 budget by 233 per cent - a total of £167,325.83.
NUS president Owain James said the report was "a very rough-and-ready document" that did not truly reflect the current state of the organisation. He said some evidence of overspending - such as the welfare manual, budgeted at £2,083, that eventually cost £15,185 - was caused by a delay in sponsorship payments. The priority campaigns budget had been overspent because of exceptional circumstances, including the threat of top-up fees and the election campaign, he said.
Some student activists were angered by what they saw as extravagance. But Mr James said spending was under control, adding: "A lot of time and effort have gone into putting new regulations in place that will mean this situation cannot arise again."