THE chairman of South Derbyshire District Council will no longer have a chauffeur driven car as part of a £40,000 saving plan.
Instead, the current chairman, Councillor Pat Murray, will drive himself in his own ‘man of the people’ car to official engagements across South Derbyshire.
The council was quick to add that no compulsory redundancies, such as the driver, were made as a result of the change – which has been part of the restructuring of the authority’s legal and democratic services department.
Councillor Bob Wheeler, leader of the council, said the car was axed as it was believed its demise would have the least impact on the people of South Derbyshire, when the council is looking to save cash.
He said: “We have completed the restructuring of our legal and democratic services department.
“This department supports the chairman of the council and it means there is no longer a dedicated car for the chairman.
“(As part of the change) there were also no compulsory redundancies made.
“(Not having the car) is partly saving the council £40,000 a year which doesn’t seem like a lot but it is just less than one per cent of our council tax so to us it is a lot.
“We will also be selling the car as it will not be needed so there will be money coming from that.”
It was revealed that the chairman will now use his own car to attend official engagements.
Councillor Wheeler added: “When the chairman needs a car then arrangements will be made for that but when it is just to attend events in South Derbyshire, the chairman can do it under his own steam.”
He said when looking to cut costs, Councillor Wheeler determined that a chauffeur driven car is one of the perks that the people of South Derbyshire will miss the least.
He said: “When we look at efficiency we look at things which don’t impact on the people of South Derbyshire and I would have thought that very few people mind how the chairman reaches his official events.”
It is not clear how long the chairman has had a chauffeur driven car but the council leader believes the tradition goes back ‘many years’.