Search

Camden Council under fire over £1.5million taxi bill - one of highest in London

17:06 23 January 2014

Former council leader Cllr Keith Moffitt has called for Camden Council to explain the £1.5million spend on taxis

Former council leader Cllr Keith Moffitt has called for Camden Council to explain the £1.5million spend on taxis

submitted

Camden Council has come under fire for running up a £1.5million bill for taxis in the past year – one of the highest totals in London.

The council spent £1,569,512 on cabs – a figure that is more than 10 times higher than neighbouring Brent’s £128,980 spend, while Westminster Council spent £671,822 over the same period.

Despite council leader Cllr Sarah Hayward’s pledge to “make every penny count”, the council spent an average of nearly £140,000 per month on taxis to transport staff, school children and vulnerable residents from October 2012 to October 2013.

The vast bill for transport is revealed as the cash-strapped council battles to cut £80million from its budget over the next four years because of government cuts.

The spend, which is publicly available to view on the council’s website, places fresh pressure on council leaders during a period of redundancies and deepening cuts to frontline services.

But the council has insisted that the spend is justified.

A spokesman said: “We have a statutory duty to provide transport for children with special educational needs and adults with disabilities to school, day centres, and other organisations that offer care and support.”

He added that taxis and minibuses are used to transport “vulnerable residents” when the council’s own fleet of vehicles are “not deemed practical or suitable”.

Cllr Theo Blackwell, cabinet minister for finance, said Camden’s bill for taxis was bigger than others because the borough has a “higher level of people with higher levels of need”.

He said: “The cost that the taxpayer picks up is an example of the kind of pressure the town hall has to deal with when you have a high population and a lot of vulnerable people.”

Cllr Blackwell said that Camden would be most comparable with Islington in terms of the number of vulnerable people who need taxis.

But in the same period Islington spent £859,381 on taxis.

Cllr Keith Moffitt, Liberal Democrat and former leader of the council, has called for the council to explain the spend.

He said: “I think Camden Council should come up with a proper breakdown of the totals to show that taxis are being used for people with special needs, and not by officers being extravagant with taxpayer’s money.”

He added that during his time as council leader, between 2006 and 2010, it was “more common for staff to walk or take public transport” and that taxis were only used in “rare circumstances”.

Camden Council’s spending on taxis has been questioned by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, who say that “unnecessary and wasteful” cab journeys should be scrapped to cut costs.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive, said: “This is a huge bill, at a time when neighbouring authorities manage to spend far less on costly taxi journeys. It’s vital that unnecessary and wasteful cab use is axed.”

He added: “Understandably some trips are unavoidable, whether they are for children with special education needs or in foster care, but that shouldn’t stop council chiefs demanding value for taxpayers’ money from the overall bill.”

A spokesperson for Brent Cars and Courier Services, one of the main providers of taxis for Camden Council, declined to comment.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Cllr Theo Blackwell, Camden's Chief of Finance, says Camden will lose out to local authorities in the wealthy home counties on a £300 government 'Superfund@ designed to soften the impact of the cuts

Camden Labour say they are set to lose out on a £300 million government “superfund” designed to soften the impact of the cuts, whilst local authorities in the leafy home counties will benefit the most.

Police are investigating attempted child abductions

A man will appear in court following allegations that he approached a number of schoolchildren in Hornsey and attempted to convince them he was a police officer.

Dr Aggarwal giving Chloe tips on delivering babies

In the midst of the contract dispute Ham&High reporter, Chloe Chaplain, spent two days shadowing junior doctors at the Whittington Hospital.

Jeffery Mann died in September last year

Friends of a man who took his own life after being told the mental health support he received would be withdrawn told Camden Council this week they feel ignored and fearful for their future.

14:03
An air ambulance landed in Fortune Green after reports a man was hit by a vehicle in Finchley Road. Picture: Harvey Lee Sutton

A man has been taken to hospital with a head injury after being hit by a vehicle in Finchley Road this afternoon.

13:27
Edmond Fenton cleared of fraud

A former television executive was today found not guilty of “pillaging” more than £400,000 from the bank accounts of his 100-year-old cousin and selling her house without her consent.

Crouch End Hill Food & Wine following stabbing

A mother has thanked her Crouch End customers for their “unbelievable” support after her son was stabbed during an attempted robbery at their family-owned store.

Yesterday, 17:25
Striking junior doctors outside the Royal Free Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

Junior doctors protested on the picket lines of the Whittington and Royal Free hospitals today after staging a second walk-out.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe