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“An enormous amount of money” — Dundee City Council spent nearly £1m a year on taxi journeys

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Dundee City Council has spent almost £2 million on taxi trips during the last two financial years, it has been revealed.

The administration has forked out £1,783,193 to pay for journeys between 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.

More than £1 million was spent in 2014/2015 on taxis and last year more than £700,000 of public cash was spent on cabs.

The council, who have to make £28 million worth of savings over the next two financial terms, say the overwhelming majority of the figure was spent transporting children with special needs and their families to and from school.

Almost £1 million was spent on taxi travel to and from Dundee’s schools during 2014/2015 whilst more than £500,000 was spent last year.

Despite paying just £10 on staff taxi costs during 2014/2015, last year that figure rocketed to £240.

More than £320,000 has also been spent ferrying social work clients over the last two years.

The figures have been met with concern by Labour leader Kevin Keenan.

Councillor Keenan said: “£1.78 million is an enormous amount of money and I hope it has all been spent with local taxi companies at contractual discounted rates.

“Some figures look to be moving in the right direction with Children and Families reducing their use of taxis in 2015/16 by some £400,000.

“I hope this is an indication that we have far fewer vulnerable children in the city.

“Although Health & Social Care Integration has grown so it could be there has been no net saving and they have just moved this amount from one budget to another.”

Eben Wilson, from Taxpayer Scotland, feels the figures indicate Dundee City Council is not “thinking enough about these costs”.

He said: “Has the council got control of its own finances?

“An extra £50,000 being spent on taxis for social care suggests no one is thinking enough about these costs.

“All of our councils need to be much more detailed in line item costs so we can see if we are getting value for money spent.”

Councillor Fraser Macpherson urged the administration to closely monitor its use of taxis and said they should only be used when no cheaper alternative can be found.

He said: “There is no doubt the city council will always need to make use of taxi provision for a number of people – for example for some older people with mobility difficulties to access social work services and some school pupils with specific additional support needs.

“However, given the cost of taxi provision, it is important it is closely monitored and only used where there is no alternative.

“It is, however, reassuring that the overall cost of provision reduced significantly by over £360,000  between 2014/15 and 2015/16.”

Dundee City Council declined to comment.

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