The £4m Taxi Bill In Central Beds

Central Bedfordshire Council has confirmed the money spent over a 15 month period was for vunerable adults and children with special needs.

The figures were revealed after Central Bedfordshire Council published the information as part of a Government order for public bodies to publish all spending over £500.

The GMB Union decided to look at the spending of the Council on private hire vehicle journeys between April 2010 and June 2011 and found a total of £4,091,478 with 37 taxi companies in the area.

Richard O'Leary, a regional representative for Central Bedfordshire told Heart what they would like to see: "Either employing people directly in house to provide some of this service, or market-testing this service seeking best value. We would like to see all External Services being reviewed to see if the best value is being achieved for the council tax payer and the recipient of each service."

Mr O'Leary added: "The £4.1m figure certainly looks very high to us. The transportation of special needs children is entirely justifiable, but what we would like to see is the COST of those services reviewed, especially at a time when the Authority is proposing a 2 per-cent pay cut to Council staff's wages".

Councillor Maurice Jones, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Corporate Resources responded "The figures quoted here (£4.1m), are overwhelmingly for essential transport used for vulnerable children and adults who have educational needs and other requirements that the council is obliged to provide.
We are acutely conscious of providing value for money and are currently in the process of re-tendering all of the routes for our service users and looking at alternative service delivery methods."

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