Edinburgh council is third highest-spending authority in UK on limos for Lord Provost

Over three years, Edinburgh spent nearly £49,000 on cars for Lord Provost

Edinburgh has been named the third-highest spending local authority in the UK when it comes to limos for the Lord Provost. The city council spent a total of £48,847 over three years on two luxury BMW 730D SE diesel models to ferry the Capital’s First Citizen or his representatives to events. The bulk of that is shown as leasing costs – £42,858 – but the council also had to fork out £4,727 on maintenance and £1,262 on fuel.

The figures were compiled by the Taxpayers Alliance, based on Freedom of Information requests to councils across the UK for the years 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22. The alliance said: “Edinburgh has been reported to have one of the lowest numbers of car commuters in the UK and has made significant efforts to increase the proportion of ultra-low emissions vehicles. However, the council ran two luxury BMW 730D SE diesel models in the years reviewed.”

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Previous vehicles used by the Capital’s civic head have included a 21ft long Ford Granada Dorchester, a Mercedes-Benz V-class people carrier and a Lexus.

Edinburgh spent more than any other Scottish local authority on limousines for the Lord Provost. Picture: Dan Phillips.

Edinburgh spent more than any other Scottish local authority on limousines, according to the data. Glasgow also had two vehicles – a Volkswagen Paeton diesel automatic and a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost – but spent a total of just £28,786 on them, more than £20,000 less than Edinburgh. The Rolls was gifted to the city and was sold in May 2022, so the council only had to pay leasing costs for the Volkswagen at £19,444. And Glasgow’s maintenance and fuel costs – at £6,122 and £3,220 – were higher than Edinburgh’s.

Aberdeen had one BMW 730LD and spent a total of £20,753 over three years, while Dundee had two vehicles – a Volvo 290 hybrid and a Volkswagen Transporter – but managed to keep its spending at just £19,087.

And according to the Taxpayers Alliance analysis, the only councils which spent more than Edinburgh on limos were Birmingham, which had a Jaguar F-Pace and a Range Rover, with a total bill of £59,884; and Swansea, which had a Volvo S90 and spent £50,700. The alliance said the total spent by councils across the UK on luxury limos for mayors and provosts between 2019 and 2022 was £2,689,959. And it noted that despite councils declaring a climate emergency, only around one in three of the 162 councils with cars were using green vehicles. It called on mayors and provosts to ditch their limos and save money using their own method of transport or public transport to get to events and said at the very least councils should stop buying luxury cars.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Council said: “As Scotland’s capital, it is necessary for the Lord Provost, who is also Lord Lieutenant, his deputy, the city’s Bailies and deputy Lieutenants to regularly travel to high profile civic engagements. For reasons of security, reliability and cost, the civic cars are the most appropriate mode of transport. They are also vital during Royal visits to Edinburgh. Transport costs are included in a budget agreed by council.”

The council added that the £42,000 leasing costs quoted by the Taxpayer’s Alliance actually related to financing costs for loans used for the purchase of the vehicles. The vehicles were financed internally over a fixed period which ends this year, following which the only costs will effectively be the running costs, maintenance, fuel and road tax.