Birmingham City Council spent more on private cars than any other local authority in UK
Data found that the council had spent thousands on leasing, maintenance and fuel for a Range Rover and a Jaguar F-Pace Saloon – and the latter has a personalised number plate.
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Birmingham City Council has spent £60,000 – the most of all local authorities in the UK – on private cars “to ferry local bigwigs about” in the past two years, it has been revealed.
The data has been collected by the TaxPayers Alliance (TPA), a pressure group which campaigns for a low tax society, whose chief executive has called the expenditure on “luxury” cars, the “height of hypocrisy”.
The research found the council had spent £59,884 on leasing, maintenance and fuel for a Range Rover and a Jaguar F-Pace Saloon – and the latter has a personalised number plate.
However, a spokesperson for the council stressed that the Range Rover and Jaguar F-Pace Saloon are used by several senior members, and furthermore, their purchase supported local manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, a firm with great historic significance for the city.
They also stated that the LOM1 personalised number plate was purchased decades ago.
The LDRS also asked the council if it was confident the Range Rover was a suitable choice, given it called a climate emergency in 2019 and made a commitment to reduce the city’s carbon emissions.
Last year the Ecologist found that Range Rovers are among the most polluting SUVs, as they are among the top selling vehicles which have average CO2 emissions in the top 10 percent of the market.
A Birmingham city Council spokesperson said: “The vehicles used here in Birmingham are manufactured by Jaguar Land Rover – a firm with deep roots and a proud manufacturing history in the city and wider West Midlands region. They are a Range Rover and a Jaguar F-Pace – the city council does not use limousines.
“Our use of their vehicles is supporting local manufacturing, which means the expenditure represents an investment in local jobs, skills and innovation.
“When the cost over three years is broken down to a daily cost, this equates to less than £28 per vehicle per day – which would be more than surpassed if taxis were used as an alternative.
“The Lord Mayor, Deputy Lord Mayor, Lord Mayor’s Deputies, Leader, Deputy Leader and Honorary Aldermen all have access to the two vehicles in question and need to attend hundreds of functions every year, at all times of the day.
“In the case of the Lord Mayor, they wear valuable regalia, and in the case of the others they often carry out work between appointments which requires privacy, and as such public transport is not a viable option for many engagements. The registration plate LOM1 has been in the council’s possession for many decades and therefore is not a new cost.
“Finally, both are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which are self-charging and use petrol – the cost of which has risen for all motorists.”
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “These luxury mayoral limos represent the height of hypocrisy.
“Some travel will of course be necessary as a mayor, but councils cannot claim to be cash-strapped if they are still paying for Teslas and Jags to ferry local bigwigs about. With many councils no longer leasing or buying cars, all other local authorities should follow suit and encourage civic leaders to use cheaper forms of transport.”