Shropshire and Telford councils pay £12.9 million in mileage claims

Shropshire's two main councils have paid out almost £13 million in mileage allowances over the last four years.

Petrol pump

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council approved mileage claims from staff of £12,970,360.29 between 2012/13 and 2015/16.

Shropshire Council has paid its staff, which includes employees at schools run by the authority, a total of £9,017,247.15 in the time period, with Telford & Wrekin Council paying out a total of £3,953,113.14.

Both authorities have seen their mileage payouts fall year on year, with total payouts dropping from a combined £3,556,998.65 in 2012/13 to £2,837,846.46 in 2015/16.

Russell Griffin, spokesman for Telford & Wrekin Council, said a reduction in the number of staff employed by the authority was why its bill had fallen year on year.

He said: “The amount that we have paid staff for costs incurred while doing their work has significantly reduced during the period covered by the figures.

“However it is only right that our hard-working staff are fairly recompensed for fuel that they use in the course of their work. We have cut £96m from our budget since 2010 and have £25m to £30m further cuts to make by 2018.

“A natural symptom of this is that our staffing has shrunk by 1,650 posts. With less staff, less people are making less mileage claims and that has the natural consequence of the total amount being paid in mileage reducing year on year.

“We have also increased the use of mobile technology so people can work out on site or from home. This modern, smart way of working also saves money.

“Wherever we can save more money or generate further income, we will do so to reduce the pressures caused by cuts to our budget and help protect frontline services.”

In the Shropshire Council area, a mileage allowance of between 20p per mile and 52.2p per mile has been paid since April 2012 depending on the vehicle type and the number of annual miles. In 2013/14, the two authorities paid £3,461,432.33 in mileage allowances, which dropped to £3,114,082.85 in 2014/15.

To date in 2016/17, Shropshire Council has paid out a further £1,550,970.77. Telford & Wrekin Council has not disclosed the figure for this financial year to date.

James Walton, Shropshire Council’s head of finance, said: “Staff needing to travel for work reasons use their own cars and then claim back the mileage at an agreed rate – which covers the cost of petrol used plus wear and tear. This figure has been decreasing year on year.

We are looking to introduce a new travel portal which will improve journey planning  and could save the council an additional £450,000 per annum.”

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