Council is ‘over-generous’ with lease scheme

A NUMBER of high performance and executive model cars are included in a car lease scheme used by Angus Council.

It has been revealed that the use of a BMW, Audi or Mercedes car is a perk that one in every 18 members of council staff currently enjoy.

The car lease scheme was originally introduced when Angus Council became the unified local authority but it has greatly increased since then.

A recently released report which was taken to councillors shows that the scheme comes at a cost of £800,000 a year to local taxpayers.

The report also claims that the council is currently spending an extra £400,000 over the usual cost of a casual business rate mileage system.

Some of the top figures to claim through the system have seen 90 per cent of their lease costs paid by Angus Council.

The local authority took the decision to move to a new system at the beginning of April which is hoped will produce better value.

The new system is aiming to be more cost neutral after a comparison was made with other authorities and public sector lease schemes. It was subsequently found that Angus Council was far more generous than others in regards to staff terms.

The current terms will stay in place for those members of staff who already have time left on their lease. In some cases the lease will continue for at least another two years.

Angus Council has also revealed that the retail value of the cars currently leased through the scheme is several million pounds.

Car makes such as Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Honda, Citroen, Mazda, Land Rover and Seat have all been leased out through the scheme.

It is not all super cars, however, as some staff have opted for the more modest makes from Ford, Peugeot, Skoda, Renault and Vauxhall.

It has also been revealed that some senior Angus Council members rejected a request to withdraw voluntarily from the scheme.

A spokesman for the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “The council needs to reduce the cost of this perk.

“Taxpayers will be angry if staff insist on keeping their luxury cars, whilst spending cuts are made elsewhere.

“Car leasing can be good value for money but offering Audis and BMWs is over-generous and costing taxpayers too much.”

A spokeswoman for Angus Council said: “The scheme allows for the acquisition of any vehicle chosen by an employee, provided the vehicle is suitable for use on council business and with the CO2 emission restrictions as detailed below.

“The CO2 emission rates should be no greater than 139 up to March 31, 2012; 134 to 2013; 129 to 2014; 125 to 2015 and 120 to 2016.”