LEASING a car and hiring chauffeurs to transport Scarborough’s Mayor provides good value, according to Scarborough Council’s head of legal services.
Ian Anderson was speaking to the Mayoralty Task Group yesterday which is trying to identify areas of the civic duty where savings could be made.
The group was set up after it was identified by members of the public as an area where cuts should be made – a total of 6,000 households were sent a questionnaire as the council looked to save £6.07 million over four years.
Mr Anderson said that the council-owned car needed to go because it was an old vehicle and service costs were rising. He said: “The approach was to look at a Mercedes. One alternative was to look at getting a Toyota Prius because of the high mileage.”
He added that the eventual lease agreement, which is due to be renegotiated by next May, had been very cost effective. He said: “If you ask me ‘could we have done it any cheaper?’ I’d say that we couldn’t have done.”
Mr Anderson said that sponsorship of the Mayor’s car would be problematic because there were licensing issues to consider. “There are restrictions on promotion,” he said. He added that a lot of events that the Mayor attended were self-funding, they did not take funds from the department’s budget, and publicity in the Scarborough Evening News also helped. “I know with my children going to events, like the opening of the Rotunda, they are delighted to have time to meet the Mayor,” he said.
Jeremy Harthill, the council’s executive manager for entertainments and conferences, said that volunteers at charity events felt valued when the Mayor attended.
Committee member Cllr Nick Brown asked if he felt it was important how the Mayor arrived at an event. Mr Harthill said: “There is some expectation of a certain standard. A respectable looking vehicle is part of that. But the days of going around in a Rolls Royce are gone.”