Scottish councils run up ‘colossal’ £45m bill on taxi fares
SCOTTISH councils have spent more than £45 million on taxi fares in the past two years, new figures have revealed. However, the true cost to the taxpayer could be even higher after 12 local authorities failed to answer.
Councils use taxis to transport some children to and from school, as well as by staff and elected members. The scale of the bill has led to calls for a tightening of spending.
Margaret Mitchell MSP, Scottish Conservative spokeswoman for local government, said: “This is a colossal figure considering only 20 out of the 32 authorities provided figures. I would urge those who were disinclined or refused to provide the figure to take a serious look at this as it is not on. Councils need to look carefully at the circumstances under which they pay for taxis. Many of the instances may be for totally legitimate purposes. But this is a huge figure.”
Glasgow City Council was the biggest spender, running up a bill of almost £10m over 2010-11 and 2011-12. Almost £8m of that figure was spent by education services.
A spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities defended the spending.
“This is a flawed survey that does not tell the whole picture,” he said. “Many of the figures submitted for councils will include the use of taxis for a range of services such as school transport, for example.”
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