Council chief executive who earns £190,000 repays 40p he claimed from taxpayers for bike ride

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council. - Credit: Archant

The £190,000 chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council has repaid the 20p a mile he claimed for using his cycle – including a two mile, 40p trip to Cambridge station.

Mark Lloyd, who in one month claimed a total of 60p for getting on his bike twice for separate journeys, has handed the cash back.

His spokesman said he had taken the decision as a way of 'acknowledging the financial restraints the council is in as well as the time taken to make these claims.

'He stopped making them for short trips some time ago and also reimbursed the council for the small handful of journeys previously included in mileage claims.'

UKIP county council group leader Paul Bullen said: 'If it was me, I wouldn't have claimed it in the first place.'

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Cllr Bullen felt local government needed 'both transparency and scrutiny' over allowances and expenses.

The council spokesman insisted Mr Lloyd was well within his rights to take advantage of 20p a mile which is available to all staff and councillors to encourage more eco friendly travel.

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'Getting people to use their bikes is a priority for Cambridgeshire County Council which also has a policy of encouraging employees to use the cheapest and most sustainable form of transport while on council business,' said the spokesman.

'The chief executive cycles wherever and whenever he can. In the past a small number of these many cycle trips were included in his mileage allowance. These claims are legitimate and in line with the council's travel policy which applies to all staff just like when they use their own cars.'

As of April 2015, with a voluntary personal reduction of just over £10,000 per annum, the chief executive's salary is £190,858. His starting salary in 2008 was £196,000.

Until December 2013 Mr Lloyd had published, on the council website, full details of his salary and expenses but then stopped doing it.

The spokesman explained that ' basically we have changed the way we do expenses to save money but this would mean extra work/ cost for us to then publish them in the old way:

'As part of the council's drive to save money for front line services the authority has moved to an online system for employees to claim reimbursement of expenses they incur doing their work for the council.

'This means it would cost tax payers to extract and redact personal information to allow individual claims to be published separately on the council's website.

Mr Lloyd's spokesman added: 'The publishing of this information is not a statutory requirement. The council does comply with requirements to publish salary levels for middle and senior staff.

'The council's policy against which staff claims reimbursement is HMRC compliant.'

Until this week the council's website used old figures to reflect Mr Lloyd's salary: until Monday he pointed out that he receives a salary of £196,946 with no supplementary income or bonuses.

'However, since July 1 2011, Mark Lloyd has taken a 5 per cent voluntary reduction in salary and receives £187,098.70 after the reduction. The post holder is entitled to 30 days' annual leave.

'The chief executive pays 12.5 per cent of his salary into the Local Government Pension scheme. The council makes an employer's contribution of 16.8 per cent into the scheme. The Local Government Pension Scheme is a contributory scheme; this means employees contribute to the scheme from their own salary.

Dia Chakravarty, political director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, felt it was 'ridiculous' that council officials and councillors could claim for cycle mileage.

'Given that there's a cost involved to taxpayers in making these expense claims it is particularly baffling that the council rule makers ever considered this a good idea,' she said.

'The system has got to change.'

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