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New West Sussex car travelling claims for councillors criticised
8:00am Monday 27th January 2014 in News
Councillors can now claim nearly 60p per mile for car travel – nearly a quarter more than the equivalent rate for council staff.
West Sussex County Council’s decision to increase car allowance expenses for councillors has come under criticism.
The new system, introduced in October last year, allows county councillors to claim 59.25p per mile for car travel – up from the previous rate of 53.8p. Staff are only allowed to claim 46.9p per mile, a difference of more than 12p.
The new allowances include 2p per mile for parking, even if councillors do not incur parking charges – but councillors can still make a separate parking claim on top for actual costs incurred.
West Sussex County Council said its scheme for members’ allowances was reviewed and updated based on averages of other county councils and taking inflation into account.
But UKIP councillor Michael Glennon criticised the “excessive” charges at a council Governance Committee meeting on Monday.
Coun Glennon said: “If the system is wrong it needs fixing right away. This is public money.
“While the governing regime here is out to impose spending cuts of up to £141 million per annum on West Sussex residents over the coming years, this coy attitude to resolving a relatively minor issue is bizarre.
“One can only imagine there is a fear it might be perceived as an embarrassing climb-down after my well-documented battles with them on this subject in the council chamber lately.”
West Sussex County Council is the most generous local authority when it comes to councillor’s car allowances.
Brighton and Hove City Council said its councillors could only claim mileage for travel outside the city boundaries on approved council duties.
It pays 45p per mile for cars, 24p per mile for motorcycles and 20p per mile for bicycles – plus an additional 5p per mile for each passenger.
Staff are paid 46.9p for the first 8,500 miles in vehicles with engine sizes up to 999cc and 13.7p for every mile after that.
Vehicles over 1,000cc are paid 52.2p per mile for the first 8,500 miles and 14.4p for additional mile.
Town hall chiefs at East Sussex County Council and staff who contractually need their car to do their job, including social workers, are paid 45p per mile.
Staff who do not contractually need a car to do their job are paid 25p per mile.
A review of West Sussex County Council’s car allowances will be discussed at the next Governance Committee meeting in March.
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