Kent

Taxi fares cost Kent County Council £110,000 since 2008

Kent County Council (KCC) has spent more than £110,000 on taxi fares over the last three years.

The figure was released in response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by a local newspaper.

Councillor John Simmonds said: "Staff are encouraged to use public transport or car share."

The Conservative-run authority said earlier this year that it planed to save £95m in the next financial year, partly through job cuts.

In 2008-9, KCC staff spent about £22,000 on taxis, with the figure rising to £51,000 for 2009-10, before dropping to £38,000 in 2010-11.

Taxis 'the exception'

Speaking in response to the FoI request by Kent on Sunday, Mr Simmonds, said there had been a reduction of almost £13,000 on the cost of work-related taxi journeys in last 12 months.

He said video conference facilities were available and journeys by taxi were the exception.

"There are times when taxi journeys are the most appropriate option but these tend to be the exception and have to be approved in advance," he said.

"A typical example would be social or care workers who very often can be called out at any time."

The council approved spending plans for 2011 to 2013, with £39m to be lost through efficiency savings and a further £35m as a result of policy changes.

KCC said it plans to cut approximately 1,500 posts over the next four years. The council has an annual budget of over £2.4bn and employs about 12,000 staff.

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