Dudley Council accused of big spending on cars

Stourbridge News: Dudley's mayoral car. Dudley's mayoral car.

CASH-starved Dudley Council has been accused of getting carried away with its spending on executive motors.

According to a survey by Intelligent Car Leasing the authority is in the top five worst offenders among Britain’s big councils for splashing the cash on posh cars.

The company bases its claims on Freedom of Information figures from the nation’s 50 biggest councils, which were asked to reveal the five most valuable unique models under their ownership or management.

The company says the figures show that while Dudley is looking making £34 million of cuts over three years, it is spending an average of £49,078 on its most expensive cars, compared to a national average of £27,000.

Pete McAllister, who conducted the study for the company, said: “It’s disturbing to discover that this level of excessive spending is going on during such tough times for Britain. With Westminster demanding cuts across the board this lavish expenditure cannot be justified.”

The survey, which was carried out in November and December last year, found Cheshire West’s average car value is the highest, at £53,669, while Hillingdon is the most frugal, spending an average of just £10,527.

However, Dudley’s finance chief Councillor Pete Lowe rejected the findings as “misleading”.

He said “The survey is essentially comparing apples with pears as we provided figures for our two civic cars, which are the only ones we own. Had we also given figures for a further three lower-cost cars, this would have reduced our average.”

“In addition, we are currently reviewing our mayoral cars as we look at every option at our disposal to ensure best value-for-money as we manage the significant cuts that are being imposed on us by central government.

“Dudley Council is a low-cost, high performing authority which charges some of the lowest council tax rates in the country and the lowest in the West Midlands.”

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