Embargoed: 00:01 Tuesday 29th November 2022
A TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) investigation has revealed that councils spent £2,689,959 on luxury mayoral limos between 2019 and 2022.
The data, which is broken down by local authority, reveals that Birmingham city council spent the most at £59,884. This covered leasing, maintenance and fuel for two luxury cars in the last three years, including a Range Rover and a Jaguar F-Pace Saloon with a personalised number plate.
At least 182 cars were owned or leased for the use of the mayor (or equivalent figure), with models including the Audi A8, Mercedes S class and Lexus RX. Hammersmith and Fulham, Southampton and Falkirk all owned Tesla models, while Glasgow ran a Rolls Royce Ghost. 20 local authorities had more than one limo between April 2019 and March 2022, with Coventry having both a Jaguar F-Pace and Jaguar I-Pace.
Despite councils declaring a climate emergency, only around one third of the 162 councils with cars were using green vehicles. Staffordshire council, which declared a climate emergency in July 2019, spent £39,315 on a gas-guzzling Jaguar XJ Saloon.
Many councils are planning to continue providing cars, despite the cost of living crisis. Elmbridge council have announced plans to replace their existing car, a Mercedes-Benz E Class, with a more expensive limo.
The TPA is calling on local mayors to ditch limos and save money when attending events by using their own methods of transport, public transport or at the very least to stop buying luxury cars.
162 local authorities spent £2,689,959 on vehicles for mayors, lord mayors, lord provosts and chairmen and women. This includes fuel, maintenance, tax and other associated costs. The average spending for those councils providing cars was £16,605.
At least 182 cars are owned or leased by local authorities across the UK for the use of their mayor (or equivalent figure). 20 local authorities ran more than one mayoral car. Coventry City, for example, paid for both Jaguar F-Pace and Jaguar I-Pace vehicles.
- Of the 162 local authorities providing mayoral cars, only 35 per cent were using environmentally friendly electric or hybrid electric vehicles.
Three local authorities (Hammersmith and Fulham, Southampton and Falkirk) own Tesla models. Birmingham city council and St Helens metropolitan borough council own Range Rovers. The city of Glasgow ran a Rolls Royce Ghost.
Other luxury vehicles used by UK councils’ mayors included the Audi A8, BMW 7 series, Jaguar XJ, Mercedes S class and Lexus RX.
The local authority that spent the most was Birmingham city council, spending £59,884 on leasing, maintenance and fuel for two luxury cars in the last three years (a Range Rover and a Jaguar F-Pace Saloon with a personalised number plate). Birmingham Council features in the top 20 most deprived neighbourhoods in England. Burnley, Blackpool, Knowsley and Rochdale also share this distinction.
Edinburgh spent the most money on mayoral cars in Scotland at £48,847 and they are the third highest spending authority in the UK according to our data. The city of Edinburgh has been reported to have one of the lowest numbers of car commuters in the UK and has made significant efforts to increase the proportion of ultra-low emissions vehicles. However, the council ran two luxury BMW 730D SE diesel models in the years reviewed.
- Bolton metropolitan borough council, Charnwood council, North East Lincolnshire council and Peterborough council all spent taxpayers’ money on transferring personalised number plates.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
“These luxury mayoral limos represent the height of hypocrisy.
“Some travel will of course be necessary as a mayor, but councils cannot claim to be cash-strapped if they are still paying for Teslas and Jags to ferry local bigwigs about.
“With many councils no longer leasing or buying cars, all other local authorities should follow suit and encourage civic leaders to use cheaper forms of transport.”
TPA spokespeople are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)
Investigations Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)
Notes to editors:
Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and speak up for British taxpayers. Find out more at www.taxpayersalliance.com.
TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.
Details of climate policy at Staffordshire County Council can be found here.
- Details of the debate on a new mayoral car at Elmbridge council can be found here.