Local Authority Flights

Local authorities have spent £6.8 million on flights since 2015, with some flying business class

Research by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) reveals the cost to taxpayers of flights for local bureaucrats over the last three years. Since 2015, local authorities in Britain have spent £6,792,500 on air travel, with each local authority spending an average of £29,152.

In England, where council tax has risen by 57 per cent in real terms over the last 20 years, councils spent an annual average of £976,817 on flights since 2015.

Some particularly dubious examples include Sunderland City Council spending £26,583 on six business class flights to Tokyo, and Northamptonshire County Council spending £9,325 on six flights to Jamaica.

Click here to read the full report

Click here to see the full data set with council by council breakdown

Key findings:

Between 1 January 2015 and February 2018:

  • At least £6,792,500 was spent by English, Welsh and Scottish local authorities on flights. On average, each local authority spent £29,152 on flights.

  • The local authority that spent the most on flights in the UK was Orkney Islands Council, with £899,552. The local authority in the mainland UK that spent the most on flights was Manchester City Council, with £199,977.

  • At least 5,393.5 non-domestic return flights were taken by 182 local authorities.

  • 144 return flights were taken in non-economy cabins, such as premium economy and business class. 18 local authorities took business class flights and 17 took premium economy flights.


Expensive and peculiar flights:

  • Manchester City Council has two entries for £12,002 for flights to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific in October 2015. It is unclear whether these two entries are group bookings, or what class of cabin they are in. However, a fully-flexible first class ticket retailed for £13,000-14,000 on the same route in April 2018.

  • Liverpool City Council took flights to Kabul, Somaliland, Basra, and Liberia.

  • Sunderland City Council spent £26,584 on six business class flights to Tokyo.

  • Northamptonshire County Council spent £9,326 on six flights to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Three of the twelve legs of the return journey were in premium economy.

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