Harrogate Borough Council among those paying staff more than approved mileage rate

Figures revealed this week show Harrogate Borough Council as being among those paying their staff more than the nationally approved mileage rate for using their own cars.

Wednesday, 25th October 2017, 1:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:35 am
Harrogate is said by the Taxpayers Alliance to be paying 10p a mile more than the HM Revenue and Customs approved allowance of 45p.

A pressure group has branded the situation a “needless waste of taxpayers’ money”, with HBC said to be paying 10p more than the HM Revenue and Customs approved allowance of 45p.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has accused councils paying above the rate of paying staff “by the back door.” A report in 2011 first highlighted the issue nationally, prompting some local authorities to cut their rates.

But the Alliance said: “Too many still pay more than they should, costing taxpayers millions. Reducing mileage payments to the approved rate is an easy way of saving money without affecting frontline services.”

The organisation said councils paid £223m in mileage to their employees in 2016-17, at an average rate of 48.92p a mile - 3.92p higher than the approved rate.

Harrogate Borough Council said its 55p allowance was agreed with staff in 2013 as part of changes to their terms of employment.

Across the country, council workers were said to be on average £50.29 better off over 1,000 miles than workers whose employers paid the approved rate.

John O’Connell, chief executive at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “There’s no excuse for councils to pay more than HMRC’s approved rate for mileage.

“It’s simply not credible for local authorities to plead poverty and raise council tax while paying over the odds for basic expenses, especially when the government has been telling them to rein in these payments for the past five years.”

North Yorkshire County Council, which pays its staff only 42p a mile, said it has reduced mileage spending by £100,000 in the last couple of years.