Welwyn Hatfield Council hits back at mileage overspending claims

PUBLISHED: 15:55 24 October 2017

Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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Welwyn Hatfield Council has rubbished claims that they are spending too much on staff mileage reimbursement.

Figures circulated by the Taxpayers’ Alliance have claimed that the council was reimbursing for trips made in private cars at a rate of 65p a mile - 20p higher than the government’s approved amount of 45p for the first 10,000 miles.

The low-tax campaign group raised concerns that too much money was being spent on staff fuel reimbursements.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Councils must continue to root out wasteful spending like this so that they can deliver tax cuts for hard-pressed residents.”

The council has clarified that they have paid the 65p rate only to Housing Trust staff since February 2017, when the Trust was brought back in-house.

At this point the 65p rate for Trust staff was continued as their terms and conditions were protected and transferred over with them.

A council spokesperson said: “Our mileage and fuel rates follow national guidance, and the majority of casual users are paid at the standard rate of 45p per mile.”

Casual users are those for whom driving isn’t an essential part of the job.

The spokesperson continued: “All new staff joining the council as casual users, including housing staff, receive mileage at the standard rate of 45p per mile.

“No council staff were paid at the rate of 65p per mile in 2015/16 as the Trust was a separate organisation, and the total amount paid at that rate in 2016/17 was £407.42, the amount paid to former Trust staff from February 2017 to the end of the financial year.”

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