Bassetlaw District Council tops list for paying highest staff mileage rate in UK

Councils across the UK have wasted millions by overpaying mileage rates to their staff, the Taxpayers' Alliance said.
Councils across the UK have wasted millions by overpaying mileage rates to their staff, the Taxpayers' Alliance said.

Councils across the UK are spending millions paying staff more than the approved rate for mileage - with Bassetlaw District Council paying the highest rate.

An investigation by the Taxpayers' Alliance found that 173 councils are paying their employees above the HMRC approved rate for mileage payments when using their own cars.

And Bassetlaw District Council paid the highest rate, at 69p per mile, over 50 per cent (24 pence) more than the HMRC approved rate of 45p a mile, for the first 10,000 miles.

This means that compared to an employee paid the approved rate, a Bassetlaw District Council employee would be £60 better off over 250 miles; £120 better off over 500 miles and £240 better off over 1,000 miles.

And in 2016/17, the authority has paid out £156,127 in mileage claims.

Nationally, authorities have forked out £223 million in mileage allowance payments to their staff in 2016/17, down from £231 million in 2015/16.

John O'Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Driving is extremely expensive in Britain thanks to sky-high rates of fuel and vehicle excise duties, but there's no excuse for councils to pay over-the-odds.

"It's simply not credible for councils to plead poverty and raise council tax while paying excessive mileage rates, especially when the government has told councils to rein in these payments for the past five years.

"No local authority should be paying more than HMRC's approved rate."

A spokesperson for Bassetlaw District Council said: "We recognise that the mileage rate is high and as part of our medium term financial plan we will be undertaking a review of mileage with a view to bringing it in line with the HMRC rate.

"The council’s current mileage rate was set as part of a programme that looked at historic terms and conditions and addressed issues of inequality with staff mileage rates.

"The council abolished all essential car user allowances (which are a part of the national collective agreement for local authority staff and which provide for a lump sum payment to certain staff) and has reduced the cost of staff mileage from £229,000 in 2012/13 down to £156,127 in 2016/17.”