THE Lord Provost’s number plate would be sold off under proposals to boost the council’s finances.
The S0 registration – valued at £500,000 – would be placed on the market along with “some of the council’s most useless assets” under the plan by the Edinburgh Greens.
The measures – part of the party’s manifesto for the council elections on May 3 – come as the local authority faces tough budgetary constraints going into the next five-year administration.
If they form part of an administration the Greens said they want officials to conduct a review of civic assets of no practical use.
Displayed on the official BMW 7 Series saloon – currently used by Lord Provost George Grubb, pictured – S0 is one of the most unusual number plates in the world.
It was created after Edinburgh’s civic leader missed out on Scotland’s first number plate – S1 – at the turn of the 20th century.
Green councillor Steve Burgess said: “With council funding being cut and public facilities being closed down, now is the right time to sell off the council’s truly useless assets and raise much needed funds.
“Any council hoarding a number plate worth half a million pounds has got its priorities wrong.”
When number plates were first introduced in 1903, Scotland was assigned the prefix S. It is believed the first plate, S1, would have been allocated to the Lord Provost’s car, but city leaders were too slow to purchase the licence.
Instead, it was bought by motoring pioneer Sir John HA MacDonald. At some point the Ministry of Transport agreed to establish the S0 plate, although details of the deal are unclear.
Councillor Jason Rust, the Tory economic development spokesman, said: “Different things have to be looked at in terms of savings and this could be explored.”
Andrew Burns, leader of the city’s Labour party, added: “Frankly there are much bigger issues facing the city, but if there is a proposal brought forward to auction the plates it’s something we’d consider.”
A council spokeswoman said “the number plates are of historical value to the city” and there were no plans to sell them.
Your number’s up
Local authorities across the UK have car registration numbers which would be of huge value on the private market.
But there are only two known cases where a zero has been issued – the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow with S0 and G0 respectively. In 2008 Bonhams valued the S0 plate at £500,000 shortly after the sale of M1 for £330,000 and S1 for £400,000. Dundee’s TS1 is valued at around £150,000.
The record holder is currently F1, which was formerly owned by Essex Council and was bought by Bradford businessman Afzal Khan for £440,625 in 2008.
The UK’s first number plates were issued in 1903, beginning with the registration A1.