Almost £15K spent on Wakefield mayor’s luxury cars

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Wakefield Council has spent almost £15,000 on maintaining two luxury cars to ferry the district’s mayor to civic events since 2015.

Figures released by right-wing think tank The Taxpayer’s Alliance showed that the local authority put £14,680 of public money towards the upkeep of two Audi A8 vehicles.

The cars are used for official duties by the mayor, who attends community events on behalf of the council to raise cash for charity.

The maintenance costs include the price of refuelling the cars.

Wakefield’s Conservative opposition leader Nadeem Ahmed criticised the amount spent, and said he was in favour of scrapping the vehicles altogether.

He said: “There was a Conservative proposal about two years ago to get rid of  the cars and to get rid of the role of deputy mayors.

“But instead the cost of democracy is rising when it should be falling.

“My view is that they are big cars and they’re very expensive to run.

“There is no doubt that council budgets are being cut but there is a choice to be made about what services should be cut and what things should stay. 

“Like all other councillors I get an allowance for travelling to council work. If the mayor’s duties are all in the Wakefield district I don’t understand why he needs the council’s car to go out and about. Like all other councillors he should use his own car and just receive an allowance.”

Of 420 councils who were asked for information, 47 did not respond and 166 said they had not spent anything on mayoral cars.

The biggest spenders anywhere in the UK were the City of Glasgow Council, who used more than £106,000 on their vehicles.

Across the rest of West Yorkshire, three other councils spent more than Wakefield – Kirklees (£24,465), Bradford (£23,220.10) and Calderdale (£15,298.80).

Leeds City Council spent £14,027.80 on their mayoral cars.

Gillian Connolly, corporate director for business change at Wakefield Council, said: “The Mayor has an important civic role in the district carrying out hundreds of engagements per year, meeting people and representing the council at a huge variety of events.

“Keeping the mayoral cars well maintained is important and the cost includes continual maintenance and fuel costs. We believe the benefits outweigh the costs.”