Council denies wasting money on staff mileage

Burnley Council says it is not wasting money
Burnley Council says it is not wasting money
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Town hall chiefs have denied they are paying over the odds for staff mileage rates.

The Tax Payers’ Alliance has said that councils across the money are wasting millions of pounds on mileage rates.

But Burnley Borough Council, which pays 52.9 pence per mile to staff using their own car when leaving the office to do their job, says that is not the case.

The rate is higher than neighbouring Pendle which pays 46.9p per mile and Rossendale which pays 46.9p, but Burnley’s rate goes down to 25p per miles for journeys outside the borough.

HM Revenue and Customs sets an approved amount for cars and vans: 45p for the first 10,000 miles.

The average council rate was 48.92p in 2016-17 – 3.92p higher than the HMRC approved rate.

A Burnley Council spokesman said: “The mileage payments are only made to staff who use their own car when they leave the office to do their job. This is to help cover the cost of fuel and other running costs.

“The mileage rate was lowered last month (September) to 52.2p per mile but this only applies to journeys made within Burnley borough. The rate for journeys outside the borough is 25p per mile.

“The top rate is in line with nationally agreed guidance and is comparable with that set by all but one of the other East Lancashire authorities. In terms of the overall amount paid to staff, Burnley’s figure is £10,000 less than the East Lancashire districts’ average.”

Burnley Council spent £23,773 this financial year, compared to Pendle Council which paid staff £40,982 over the same period.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the Tax Payers’ Alliance, said: “Driving is extremely expensive in Britain thanks to sky-high rates of fuel duty and vehicle excise duty, but there’s no excuse for councils to pay more than HMRC’s approved rate for mileage.

“It’s simply not credible for local authorities to plead poverty and raise council tax while paying over the odds for basic expenses, especially when the government has been telling them to rein in these payments for the past five years.”