Today Boris Johnson uses his column in the Telegraph to suggest that David Cameron can set the tone for his new government next summer by scrapping ministerial cars. Both Boris and Ken Livingstone before him have shown that you can do a job with ministerial status without the car. Quite right. Cameron’s government will be required to visit seven years of famine on our state and it needs to start with ministerial pay, pensions and perks and then get to work on Parliament and MPs if it is going to have the credibility required to do its job.
Back in February I showed how it would be possible to save Â£10 million by reducing the number of cars run by the Government Car Service from 170 to 50, see here.
You can pull all the numbers you need out of the Annual Report of the Government Car and Despatch Agency, here. Government mail and car services are handily structured as a Department of Transport Executive Agency and they publish separate figures.
In 2007/8 they had 171 cars and 168 drivers and they cost Â£14.0 million to run. That is about Â£82K per car but I guess they don’t have all the cars and the drivers on the road at the same time so they probably have nearer to 150 cars out there operating and the effective cost per car is slightly higher than Â£82K but probably not quite as much as Â£100K. They bought Â£1.0 million worth of new cars and employed five managers who earnt over Â£50K in 2007/8. All employees are on civil service pensions. Nice work if you can get it.
It sounds like you could keep 50 odd cars for the real big knobs, lose 120 or so and save Â£10 million. They also have large premises at 46 Ponton Road in Vauxhall which would probably make a nice capital receipt thank you.