Liberal Democrats call for Mayor of Peterborough car to be scrapped

The mayor's car ENGEMN00120120309160223
The mayor's car ENGEMN00120120309160223
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The decision to award The Mayor of Peterborough a new Jaguar XJ costing £534 per month has been criticised by the Liberal Democrats who want the car taken away.

The four-year lease taken out by Peterborough City Council will replace the current model of the same car which is in need of repairs after problems with its brakes.

But the leader of the Liberal Democrat group in the council, Councillor Nick Sandford, believes current mayor Cllr John Peach should hire taxis and even use public transport.

And his colleague Cllr Darren Fower has even started a petition to go one step further and stop the mayor having a car at all.

Writing on the website where he has launched his petition, Cllr Fower stated: “The City Council has told YOU that YOUR Council Tax will INCREASE by 4% in 2016, they’ve TOLD you that they’re having to make “savings” aka CUTS, to address their £24m budget shortfall.

“BUT....... at the same time, they’re telling YOU that they intend to spend £6,000 (a year), paid for by YOU, to replace mayor’s car!

“They’ve wasted millions on solar panel schemes, introduced a brown bin tax, and extended the repayments on THEIR loans, so YOUR children PAY for their misguided borrowing!

“Isn’t it about time we ALL said “No more!” - Isn’t it about time, we got rid of the mayor’s car, if ONLY to show that we’re serious about becoming the Environmental Capital of the UK?”

However, the Conservative council leader Cllr John Holdich has defended the decision to lease the Jaguar which comes as the council is half-way through tackling a £24 million budget deficit.

Cllr Holdich said he had looked far and wide to get quotes for a new car instead of paying £6,500 to keep the current 10-year-old model running for another 12 months.

He added: “It’s the council’s policy that the car must be British and there’s not a British hybrid on the market that I could find at the time that fitted the status of the mayor.

“We are cutting our cloth. In the first year it will save us about £250. Having leased it there are no service costs.

“It’s not just the mayor’s car, it’s used when the managing directors of companies come to the city.

“It has to be appropriate for the First Citizen of Peterborough and those people you want to show Peterborough to.”

Cllr Holdich also said an electric car would be more expensive than the current deal.

But, Cllr Nick Sandford said he had concerns about the arrangement, adding: “We have argued in the past that the mayor does not need a car.

“There are local authorities where the mayor has an arrangement with a local taxi firm. And it would be nice on a couple of occasions if the mayor uses public transport.

“If he has to have a car it should be something more in keeping with the period of austerity we are going through.”

A council spokesman said all council party leaders had been consulted on the decision. He added: “The mayor attends hundreds of events and over the last three years the First Citizen has raised more than £100,000 for local charities.”

The old car will be auctioned to support the costs of the lease and the mayor’s EG1 number plate will be transferred to the new car.

The council claims the benefits of the new car include double the number of miles to the gallon and much lower CO2 emissions.

The mayor now has an attendant - rather than a chauffeur - who also works at the Town Hall.

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