Southampton taxpayers being taken for a ride

On 6 June, headlines in Southampton read City Council billed for 80 taxis a day in mileage rate row. One round trip to Lee-on-Solent alone reportedly cost taxpayers £140. This has come about because Southampton City Council has reduced the mileage costs employees can claim from 54p per mile to the standard HMRC rate of 45p per mile. Southampton was one of the councils we highlighted in a report earlier this year as paying well over the recommended rate. It is also worth remembering HMRC increased the rate from 40p, to 45p a mile this April.

With that in mind it seems fair to both employees and taxpayers, with the current state of public spending, that staff at Southampton City Council should accept the 45p rate. Unfortunately they haven't and instead have taken industrial action.

They are refusing to use their own cars and are instead hiring taxis at great expense to Southampton taxpayers.

Just because they have been enjoying 54p per mile in the past doesn't mean they are being treated unfairly now.

It is unreasonable for them to group together and refuse to use their private vehicles knowing this will force up the council's cost by the need to hire taxis.

Extra costs will further endanger the long-term services able to be provided by the council. This appears a little like blackmail!

John Henvest, Hampshire TPA

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