Suffolk County Council spends nearly £20k on flights over last three years

PUBLISHED: 18:17 26 June 2018 | UPDATED: 18:17 26 June 2018

Endeavour House Picture: ARCHANT

Endeavour House Picture: ARCHANT

Nearly £20,000 has been spent on flights by Suffolk County Council (SCC) since 2015, new figures have revealed.

Statistics obtained by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) through a series of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests showed the county council forked out £19,288 on air travel between January 2015 and February 2018.

The FoI also revealed that the money was spent on 41 flights in Europe and three tickets to destinations elsewhere in the world.

SCC says some of the flights were made in relation to EU funded projects and were fully remibursed as part of each project.

Figures from the TPA – which campaigns for government transparency and lower taxes – also showed Suffolk Coastal District Council spent £420 on three European flights over the last three years and Babergh District Council spent £141.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Forest Heath District council, Tendring District Council and Waveney District Council did not purchase any flights.

The TPA said Mid Suffolk District Council did not respond to the request for information.

Nationally, at least £6,792,500 was paid out on air travel by English, Scottish and Welsh authorities and on average, each local authority spent £29,152 on flights.

Richard Smith, SCC’s cabinet member for finance, said: “In each circumstance, the decision on how best to travel was made after closely comparing the cost of each journey against alternative methods including train and car travel.

“The cheapest choice was then made on each occasion.

“While many of these flights were journeys within the British Isles that would have otherwise cost much more to drive or use public transport, some of these flights were made in relation to specific EU funded projects where Suffolk County Council staff worked with colleagues from other countries to work on improving digital services for residents.

“The costs of these flights were fully reimbursed as part of each project.

“Others flights were in relation to young people within the care of the authority.

“Details of these are reported on the council’s website as part of the government procurement card transactions list.”

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