Mileage to be had in council expenses
COTSWOLD district councillors are cashing in on inflated travel expenses set above the recommended rate.
A Freedom of Information request by the Standard has revealed that CDC councillors and officers can claim 49.3p per mile for private cars at an uncapped amount.
It has meant over the last financial year, CDC paid out more than £133,000 from taxpayers money in mileage expenses.
The council's mileage rate exceeds the recommendations of HM Revenue and Customs of 45p per mile for cars and vans up to 10,000 miles and 25p per mile thereafter.
Eco-conscious CDC councillors who choose to cycle to their meetings benefit from the same 49.3p per mile rate, which is nearly 30p higher than the 20p rate recommended by HMRC.
CDC’s allowances compare poorly with neighbouring West Oxfordshire District Council, which follows HMRC's suggested rate of 45p per mile for vehicles and a lower amount of 14.9p per mile for bicycles.
Independent CDC councillor Mark Wardle (Ind, Fairford) said it was a disgrace. Cllr Wardle, who was elected in May 2011, chose not to claim any allowances including his basic allowance for the financial year of April 2011 to March 2012.
Several councillors joined Cllr Wardle in not making a claim for travel expenses, but in some cases councillors’ claims exceeded £1,000.
Cllr Wardle said: "There was supposed to be a review into expenses but there wasn’t one. The mileage rates are in excess of what is recommended and I don’t think that’s right."
CDC spokesman Peter Burton said the council's mileage rate was based on AA recommendations, which nationally were 65p per mile for engine sizes over 1200cc. Mr Burton said: "The scheme is currently being updated in consultation with the local union reps and non union reps to reflect the changes in the cost of running a vehicle since our rate was last reviewed."
The last review in February, 2011, left the mileage rate unchanged.
To view a full table of councillors’ expenses click here .