Labour Party councillors on the Wirral have claimed over £3000 in expenses for taxi fares.
AS Wirral town hall continues to struggle against savage spending cuts, revelations that Wirral councillors have claimed expenses of almost £3,000 on taxis for themselves have been greeted with astonishment. Figures unearthed this week show Labour councillors have lashed out more than £2,800 on cabs - a sum Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green said will “horrify” council tax payers.
Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said journeys were for “legitimate council business.”
But with the authority set to slash a further £18m out of services, questions have been asked why Labour councillors claimed such a large amount for cabs.
Figures released under a Freedom of Information request from blogger John Brace show that in 2013/14, a total of £2,877 was paid to three taxi firms for journeys made by councillors.
Around 20 Labour councillors claimed cash for cabs, with two members of the ruling group racking up bills of more than £700 each.
Councillor Jeff Green said: “The public will be horrified at this amount of money being taken from their council tax, “I find it extraordinary that Labour councillors responsible for this massive bill cannot make the connection between their expenditure on themselves and the cuts they have to make in services to Wirral people, “I would expect each of these councillors to reflect on whether they should take a leadership role in terms of reducing expenditure.
"The more they spend on themselves, the less there is to spend on services."
Councillor Davies he is “absolutely confident” that all cab rides were essential.
He said: “These are all for legitimate council meetings that these councillors had to attend as part of their duties and responsibilities as elected members – there has been no sort of frivolous use of council expenses.”
Asked why only Labour councillors appeared on the list, Cllr Davies said: “The reality is that quite a lot of our members don’t have cars, so they need to use taxis to get to council meetings.
“If they had cars then they would be making a claim on council expenses for their car allowance, but they don’t, "There are more Labour councillors who don’t have a car than those from other parties.”
He added: “These are legitimate claims within the budget of the council for elected members to allow them to do their jobs.
“Quite often taxis are the only form of transport they can use to get to their meetings.”