Welwyn Hatfield Council cuts mileage expenses rate

TRAVELLING on council business at a gas-guzzling rate – all at the taxpayers’ expense – has become a thing of the past for councillors and staff.

For a new flat rate of 40p a mile has come into effect at Welwyn Hatfield Council.

Before, employees and councillors claimed at a different rate depending on the size of their vehicle’s engine – 42.9p a mile for engines up to 999cc, 46.9p for engines between 1,000cc and 1,199cc, and a massive 58.7p per mile for engines larger than that.

The new lower rate, which came into effect on New Year’s Day, will save the council about �18,000 a year.

The changes will affect some more than most.

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Four councillors claimed more than �1,000 for mileage in the 2009/10 period: leader John Dean, his wife Irene, and cabinet members Colin Couch and Roger Trigg.

The quartet’s expenses claims were all at the biggest 58.7p rate, which means they can expect their recompense to be slashed by nearly a third from now on.

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In the same period, a total of 22 councillors did not claim any mileage expenses at all.

Cllr John Dean said: “In these times of austerity it is vital that savings are found wherever possible.

“Even before the grant settlement was announced this change was agreed and we are committed to finding areas of our operation that can be scaled back without impacting on services.”

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