Monday 25 February 2013

More loose ends - limos and chauffeurs

During the recent James v Thompson libel trial, Mr James's counsel made a great deal of fuss about a suggestion in Jacqui Thompson's blog that limousines operated by the council might be costing the taxpayer £66,000 a year. The true cost of maintaining two part-time chauffeurs for council bigwigs is a snip at £33,000 a year, the court was told, and the higher figure was offered up as evidence that Caebrwyn had distorted the facts.

Before we take a closer look at these claims and counter-claims, it is worth recalling that Jacqui Thompson's counsel asked Mr James whether he agreed that £33,000 was a lot of money. "If you say so," said Mr James, who this week will preside over the council's annual budget meeting to endorse cuts to a wide range of services.

As readers have probably already guessed, no cutbacks to spending on luxury cars are on the cards.

It says something about the county council's view of the world that it regards reporting on extravagant and utterly wasterful spending on luxury cars as a example of the inherent wickedness of Caebrwyn's blog.

What we do know, however, is that the county council spends £33,000 a year on part-time chauffeurs; that it added to its fleet last year when it purchased another Mercedes for the use primarily of the council leader; and that the fleet of cars it owns or leases includes some extremely pricey Mercedes saloons and a Jaguar (see FOI response here).

It seems to me that if Caebrwyn is guilty of anything here, it is under-estimating the cost of luxury cars provided for the use of senior officers and councillors.


Lesley said...

You can add to your list of prestige cars six electric cars, four of which appear to be parked permanently in front of Parc Myrddin. There are only two charging points. What's that all about? The Council's attempt to "go green"?

Anonymous said...

Errm.. all those Mercedes benzes appear to be trucks, lorries and vans to me. There's one Jag in the middle, but...

Bob Irving

Cneifiwr said...

The FOI list is of all vehicles owned or leased by the council, so naturally it includes a lot of commercial vehicles. Tucked away in there are the cars, which you can also see outside County Hall as often as not.

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