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Letter: Cost of Mayoral Car and Driver is Just 33p a Year Per Resident

Published on: 4 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 4 Mar, 2021

From: Mike Parsons

Former Mayor of Guildford and Conservative borough councillor

In response to: Mayor Loses Official Car and Driver to Save £25,000 a Year

I found it very disappointing to learn from the excellent article in The Guildford Dragon that the GBC administration took the decision to cut the mayoral car and driver as a cost-saving measure. There are many pressures on finances in every walk of life during these unparalleled times, but this step is in my opinion is one that will benefit nobody in Guildford.

During my mayoralty, I had the great pleasure to carry out almost 500 official engagements. On occasions, more than one in a day, five engagements on Christmas Day and this would have been very difficult, and in some cases impossible, had I not had a car and driver.

One of the primary roles of the mayor is to help in raising the profile of the voluntary and charitable sector in Guildford and fundraising for those most in need in the borough. Sometimes, in excess of £80,000 for good causes has been raised. I am convinced this would prove difficult for future mayors if they did not have access to a car and driver.

I move on to financial views. I kept a record of all my official engagements and, interpreting the information, I estimated that the use of taxis to cover my engagements would cost about £14,706, not including waiting times and parking fees. If you include these, it is estimated an additional 40% could be added to this figure (£5,882)

The cost to the residents of the borough of Guildford for the car and driver is £0.33p per resident per year which puts the cost, and budget cuts into perspective.

I believe seven out of 11 boroughs in Surrey do not have a mayoral car and driver. The question is, therefore, are we in Guildford leaders of fashion or followers? After all, Guildford is recognised as the county town.

Finally, the advice, knowledge, experience and help provided to me by the mayoral drivers I found invaluable in performing my duties.

The removal of mayoral car and driver is a short-sighted decision and one that could be very detrimental to the wonderful borough of Guildford.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: Cost of Mayoral Car and Driver is Just 33p a Year Per Resident

  1. Harry Eve Reply

    March 4, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    I note, with much appreciation, that The Guildford Dragon has included a suggestion for an interesting alternative.

  2. Shirley West Reply

    March 4, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    Well said Mr Mike Parsons.

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