Leeds nostalgia: 1978: Leeds Council spends £90,000 on ‘company cars’ for department heads

Trafic from the 1970s... The Headrow, Leeds
Trafic from the 1970s... The Headrow, Leeds
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There was an outcry after it was revealed Leeds City Council was set to buy cars for 30 of its top officials at a cost of £90,000.

At the time, chief officers and their deputies were on salaries of between £9,000 and £14,000 a year.

But a report drawn up by the council’s finance department claimed ratepayers would actually save money if the plan went ahead.

At the time, the council divided its workers into ‘essential’ and ‘casual’ car users. Essential car users could borrow £2,500 from the council toward the cost of a new car, but also received a lump sum payment of £235 and could then claim 12.4p per mile.

Casual users could not borrow money but could claim 21p per mile for the first 1,000 miles, thereafter dropping to 18p.

The council said the 30 cars would range in price from £2,930 to £3,140.

The report claimed that if all department heads and their deputies were bought cars, it would save the ratepayer £3,786 over two years. The savings would be made because there would be no more lump sum payments by the corporation and they would end up paying a reduced mileage rate.

Coun Irwin Bellow, leader of the council, backed the plan, dubbing it “sensible” and adding it would save them money in the long run.

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