Revealed: City Council spend over £4m on travel expenses in three years
From 2017 - 2019 Aberdeen City Council spent £4,036,370 on travel expenses
By: Anttoni Numminen
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the Gaudie has revealed that between 2017 and 2019 Aberdeen City Council spent £4,036,370 on travel expenses.
In 2019 ACC spent £1,249,765 on travel expenses, down from 2018 when £1,432,131 was spent on travel expenses which “may include accommodation, car hire and staff mileage.”
However, according to the ACC website, in 2019 councillors were reimbursed over £27,000 of public money for travel expenses which still only account for a fraction of the council’s annual expenditure on travel.
According to the FOI request, in 2017 ACC spent £1.3m, in 2018 £1.4m and in 2019 £1.2m on travel expenses
The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Barney Crockett received the highest individual reimbursement for travel expenses at £13,564. The second highest reimbursement went to councillor John Reynolds who received £6,195 of travel expenses.
When asked whether the council could justify such high expenditure on travel, an ACC spokesman said: “As with every year, all expenses incurred relate to operational requirements and comply with Council policy.”
Asked to account for the remainder of the spending on travel, as councillors' travel expenses only made up a fraction of the total, the council said: “difference between member’s travel expenses and overall travel expenditure would be accounted for by officers travel expenses in line with policy.”
The Gaudie also made an FOI request to find out council expenditure on accommodation but this was refused on the basis that the cost of providing the information would be in excess of the £600 statutory maximum.
This comes as council leaders warned of major budget cuts of almost £38m which could affect all council services.
The budget report which is to be debated next week highlights areas including dimming streetlights, school crossing patrollers, libraries and grass cutting in a bid to find £37.9m of possible savings.
A council tax rise of 3% has also been proposed, which would save the local authority £3.675 million.
Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said nothing was certain at this stage.
He said: "We have been given a list of options from council officers.
"Over the next week myself and other administration leaders will be looking at what we can cut. We will also be looking at income, where we can actually raise income."
The Gaudie contacted the council co-leaders Douglas Lumsden and Jenny Laing for comment, but they have not responded as of the time of publication.