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Mayors have blown £2.5m of public money on luxury cars since 2019

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Councils have blown more than £2.5million of taxpayers’ money on luxury limos for their mayors over the course of the last three years, new research has shown. Local authorities splashed on car brands including Jaguar, Lexus, and Tesla, with John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which launched the investigation, claiming the use of the vehicles represented “the height of hypocrisy”.

The data, which is broken down by local authority, relates to the period from 2019 to 2022, with Birmingham City Council, whose current Mayor is Councillor Maureen Cornish JP, spending most, a total of £59,884 covering leasing, maintenance and fuel for two luxury cars in the last three years, including a Range Rover and a Jaguar F-Pace Saloon complete with a personalised number plate. 

At least 182 cars were either owned or leased for the use of mayors and equivalent dignitaries, with models including the Audi A8, Mercedes S class and Lexus RX. 

Hammersmith and Fulham, Southampton and Falkirk all owned Tesla models, while Glasgow City Council ran a Rolls Royce Ghost.

A total of 20 local authorities had more than one limo between April 2019 and March 2022, with Coventry possessing both a Jaguar F-Pace and Jaguar I-Pace.

Tellingly, despite councils throughout the UK having declared a climate emergency, just one-third of the 162 councils with cars were using green vehicles. 

Staffordshire County Council, which declared a climate emergency in July 2019, spent £39,315 on a gas-guzzling Jaguar XJ Saloon.

Edinburgh spent the most money on mayoral cars in Scotland at £48,847.

The city of Edinburgh has been reported to have one of the lowest numbers of car commuters in the UK and has made significant efforts to increase the proportion of ultra-low emissions vehicles.

However, the council ran two luxury BMW 730D SE diesel models in the years reviewed.

Many councils are planning to continue providing cars, despite the cost of living crisis with Elmbridge Borough Council announcing plans to replace their existing car, a Mercedes-Benz E Class, with a more pricey limo.

Meanwhile Bolton metropolitan borough council, Charnwood Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and Peterborough Council all spent taxpayers’ money on transferring personalised number plates.

The TPA is urging local mayors to ditch their swanky cars to save money when attending events by using their own methods of transport or public transport, and to stop buying luxury cars.

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Mr O’Connell said: “These luxury mayoral limos represent the height of hypocrisy. 

“Some travel will of course be necessary as a mayor, but councils cannot claim to be cash-strapped if they are still paying for Teslas and Jags to ferry local bigwigs about.

“With many councils no longer leasing or buying cars, all other local authorities should follow suit and encourage civic leaders to use cheaper forms of transport.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Birmingham City Council for comment.

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