Not long after the election, one of the first cost cutting measures announced by the new Coalition Government was that only the handful of senior ministers who require a vehicle for security reasons would be the only ones designated a specific car. The rest would have to make do with the government car pool as and when the need arose. The remainder of the time, the politicians would be expected to make use of public transport. The saving to the public would be about £2.8m. The decision to cut by a third of the cost of the government car service was intended to send the very important signal that the new government’s intentions on saving public money would be felt by the top echelons of society and not just by Joe Public.
To date, at least 9 members of the Cabinet, which include the Prime Minister, are keeping their taxpayer funded cars and drivers. A study reveals that over £6million per year is still being spent on a large fleet of vehicles which include Jaguars, Toyotas and Hondas. Money is also being spent on any driver car insurance to allow different chauffeurs to drive the cars. Last year on Sept 8th, David Cameron said, in a Cutting the Cost of Politics speech, “If there is something that really annoys people, its politicians swanning around in chauffeur-driven cars like they’re the Royal Family. In these economic times this number cannot be justified.”
However during the study there were individual inquiries to each government department which found that ministers are either hanging on to their cars or stalling and taking their time getting rid of them. A report by the Labour MP Tom Watson found that The Prime Minister, George Osborne, Theresa May and William Hague are keeping their vehicles because of security reasons. Ken Clarke, Eric Pickles and Owen Paterson are keeping their Jaguars. While Chris Huhne and Michael Gove both refused to confirm if they intend to get rid of the combined nine vehicles they have between them.
Mr Watson said: “It’s time for ministers to axe their cars and prove that we really are all in this together.”