Bid to lower mileage rates

A COUNTY council is attempting to slash staff mileage payments in the face of criticism from a pressure group.

A survey by the Taxpayers’ Alliance found that 80 per cent of the UK’s 433 local authorities, including Lincolnshire, paid above the HM Revenue and Customs recommended 40p a mile for the financial year 2010/11.

Lincolnshire County Council staff were paid 54.5p per mile, and the £6.6 million paid out in the last financial year was the fifth highest of all UK councils.

The council said its mileage rates had been agreed nationally by local government trade unions.

It has proposed changing to the recommended rate, which was increased to 45p per mile on April 6.

David O’Connor, executive director for performance and governance at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “As the second biggest county, Lincolnshire is always likely to appear high up any list of mileage covered by staff.

“People such as social workers and highways crews quite simply have bigger distances to cover to do their jobs.

“However, we are also currently negotiating with trade unions with regards reducing the mileage rates.

“We are tied to our current rate until we negotiate out of it with the trade unions.”

Taxpayers Alliance director Matthew Sinclair said: “It is shocking that the same councils that are pleading poverty are paying well above the recommended mileage rate.”