Councillors to decide on changes to chairman’s chauffeur-driven car as part of civic budget cuts

Changes to the civic budget are set to be confirmed by councillors.

A meeting of Lichfield District Council tonight (April 19) will decide whether to go ahead with changes including:

  • Reducing the number of engagements attended by the local authority’s civic leaders.
  • Reducing the civic duties allowance paid to the chairman to £3,250 from £6,490 and the vice chairman from £2,810 to £1,400.
  • Replacing a chauffeur-driven Jaguar with a chauffeur-driven Ford Mondeo to take civic leaders to events.

The Conservative Cabinet has backed the proposals, which are expected to shave £7,385 off the cost of operating the civic roles at Lichfield District Council.

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

There had been calls for the chauffeur-driven car to be axed completely. But Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of the council said a vehicle was needed.

“We have taken into consideration the views of a task force and other parties to come up with a proposal,” he said.

“There was a feeling that the civic role was needed and therefore a car is necessary for a number of reasons.

“I believe that we have a duty to ensure that those who are fulfilling the civic duty are being looked after correctly.”

A cross-party group reviewing the civic function will meet again in a year to decide if further reforms are needed.

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward, leader of the Labour opposition group, said: “I hope this is a first step towards redefining the role of the chairman fit for the 21st Century and not looking back to what was happening in the 70s and 80s.

“It’s an important role as first citizen of Lichfield District Council but it has been devalued over the years in my view, with all sorts of fripperies that undermine the dignity of the role.

“The task group is to reconvene in 12 months to review this again and I hope we can take further steps forward to meet public expectations of what’s appropriate and what’s not.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.
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