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Walsall Council spends £50k on mayor's new car

Walsall | News | Published:

Cash-strapped Walsall Council has spent more than £50,000 on a new mayoral car, despite £19 million cuts that will see more than 300 jobs axed.

A new-look Jaguar XJ has been bought for the mayor, in a move condemned as 'appalling' amid cuts which will mean the closure of a museum to claw back £70,000.

Council chiefs today defended the investment saying the mayoral role was the most prestigious in the borough.

The new vehicle has cost £50,000 excluding VAT and will transport the mayor Councillor Mohammed Nazir, to formal engagements and events.

Under plans the deputy mayor's car, a Jaguar Sovereign Executive which dates back to 1996, will be scrapped.

The current mayoral vehicle, which is also a Jaguar Sovereign Executive and around seven years old, will be passed down to the deputy.

There was uproar two years ago when the council revealed it was going to use agency drivers rather than its own chauffeurs under money saving measures.

Council leader Mike Bird said: "Replacing the mayoral car at this stage of its life is the most cost effective thing to do, so as to avoid greater maintenance costs in the future.

"We feel it's important to retain the significance of the mayor's role here in Walsall.

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"The mayor goes back to the 1200s. At the end of the day the mayor is the Queen's representative in the borough.

"There some things which are sacred and the mayor's car is one."

Councillor Paul Bott hit out at the plans today. He said: "The running costs for the year will run into thousands too – it is ridiculous."

Bosses revealed 332 jobs could be lost in the 2014/15 budget.

The council also plans to cut £6m from the social care bill and also axe Walsall Museum to save £70,000.

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