BURNLEY Borough Council workers claimed up to 65p a mile for using their own cars last year – 25p more than the recommended figure and one of the highest rates in the country.
A report released yesterday by the Taxpayers’ Alliance also revealed the council paid out £104,844 on mileage in 2009/2010, down from £113,071 the previous year.
Although the total amount paid out by the authority was less than in many other areas, the report claimed that if town hall bosses used the HMRC Approved Mileage Allowance Payment (AMAP) of 40p per mile, they could save £250 for every 1,000 miles.
Burnley council employees are on Local Government Employers’ Association agreed terms and conditions and are therefore able to claim the higher rate, but critics say councils could make significant savings by adopting the AMAP.
The average council rate for 2010/2011 was 56.4p but many councils across the country, including Burnley, offered 65p.
Lancashire County Council paid out more than any other authority in the country for workers’ mileage – almost £9m. in 2009/2010.
Mr Nick Aves, Burnley Borough Council’s director of resources, said: “Burnley Council’s car mileage payments are in line with the national rates set by the Local Government Employers’ Association.
“The rates have been frozen this year and the amount of mileage costs actually paid out by the council is among the lowest in the North-West and falling year-on-year.
“We are currently in discussions with the trade union to achieve a reduction in the rates payable to ensure this trend continues. We monitor mileage claims to make sure costs are kept under control and it is right that staff who use their own cars for council business have their costs covered. However, this needs to be balanced with the need to achieve savings and deliver good value for money for local taxpayers.”