Lancashire ambulance bosses accused of being 'tactless' over luxury cars (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Lancashire ambulance bosses accused of being 'tactless' over luxury cars
AMBULANCE chiefs have defended their company car policy after it was revealed 25 senior staff drive high-end Range Rovers worth about £40k each.
According to documents released under Freedom of Information laws, the lease car fleet at North West Ambulance Service also includes ten BMW 520s, worth around £30k, and four Audi A4s, valued at around £24k.
A patient representative described the scheme as ‘pretty tactless’, especially as the taxpayer-funded service is being forced to find savings of £10 million this year.
Those who use the scheme are entitled to £2,800 per year towards the cost of their lease vehicle, plus business mileage expenses and 50 per cent of the insurance premium.
Some 168 staff have a company car, including directors earning more than £100,000-a-year down to band four staff who earn between £18,000 and £24,000.
Of the trust’s seven directors, two drive Range Rover Evoques, one a BMW 520, one a Toyota Avensis, one a Volkswagon Tiguan and another a BMW 320. One drives the eco-friendly Toyota Prius.
Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group wasn’t impressed.
He said: “Given the current state of the health economy I think it’s pretty tactless to be driving around in models of cars like that.
“The senior staff should be leading by example and using cheaper, greener mod-els, not BMWs and 4x4s.”
NWAS, which signed up to the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy in 2009, said in a statement: “The number of staff entitled to a trust vehicle is very small in comparison to the approximate 4,800 staff members.
“Staff use trust vehicles for personal use as well as business use and so they require particular vehicles for their individual circumstances.
“Therefore there is a degree of selection.
“The trust contributes a fixed amount of £2,800 per annum. Anything over this allowance is paid for by the staff member themselves.
“The trust operates across approximately 5,500 square miles and over 114 sites.
Staff are therefore required to travel significant distances for business purposes.
“And therefore it is of financial benefit to the trust to provide high mileage staff with a lease car rather than pay the national full mileage rates.”
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