Earlier this year, Humberside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Grove, announced money saving agreements with East Riding of Yorkshire Council and North Lincolnshire Council. Under these agreements, Humberside Police would be able to use council refuelling depots, reducing the needs to use commercial forecourts. According to a press release published on the PCC’s website, “the arrangement has a number of benefits, with the Force accessing a cheaper fuel than is available through garage forecourts and in doing so providing a valuable Police presence at the council’s fuel facility both within and outside of normal working hours.”
This is a very sensible cost-cutting measure, and Mr Grove’s deputy, Paul Robinson, whose role is to develop partnership opportunities, is to be congratulated for securing the deals. Last week, however, I was looking through the travelling expenses claimed by both Mr Grove and Mr Robinson and discovered that whilst Mr Grove claims 45p per mile, Mr Robinson claims 65p per mile – 20p more than HMRC’s recommended rate.
I then requested a copy of the mileage rates paid to staff in the PCC's office. All staff are casual users and are therefore able to claim a maximum of 65p per mile, up to 8500 miles a year, if the engine size of their car is above 1200cc.
When you add up Mr Robinson’s mileage so far this year (only January-August are available on the website), by claiming 65p per mile, he has cost taxpayers an additional £508. What we currently don’t know is how much has been claimed by other staff. This generous mileage rate could easily cost taxpayers thousands of pounds, wiping out some the savings Mr Robinson has made elsewhere.
I do not want to see the PCC’s staff out of pocket when they use their own car for official business, however paying 65p per mile is a generous taxpayer funded perk – a perk that Hull City Council is planning to eliminate. The PCC’s office should do the same.