• UPDATE JANUARY 2021: Loving Dalston’s revelations about the Hackney limo benefit for a lucky councillor have had a result: Hackney has ended the costly freebie
AS HACKNEY MAYOR Philip Glanville blames the Government for wrecking council budgets, the borough continues to fund a luxury imported limousine for a senior councillor.
The danger of cuts is no secret, and difficult to avoid — the Labour-dominated council devotes a page of its website to austerity — but when it comes to the sleek four-door saloon imported from California, Hackney comes over all coy.
Loving Dalston has spent weeks trying to get the Town Hall to talk about the cost to local taxpayers of the state-of-the-art electric Tesla Model S.
The council eventually said “Based on whole-life-cost calculations the ceremonial Tesla is cheaper to operate than the diesel vehicle [a Mercedes-Benz E-class saloon] that it replaced” and even tried the “commercial confidentiality” excuse.
Who mentioned diesels (ever wondered what it means to swerve a question)? And in case you’re wondering, the Tesla is not necessarily greener than a diesel limo: its powerful battery requires lithium, a material dug out of the Earth at great environmental cost.
When it was suggested that hiring a taxi to transport the Speaker to snip the tape at school fetes; to do a John “Order, ORDER!” Bercow at council meetings; and to pose at citizenship ceremonies might save money, the council talked about risks of theft of the Speaker’s blingy chains and sumptious 17th-century clobber.
Loving Dalston phoned a car-financier to see the size of hole a Tesla drives into the council budget.
The recommended retail price for a 600km-range Tesla S is £81,200.
A four-year lease/purchase deal based on a 10% deposit and monthly hire payments seems attractive. But the total cost can get startlingly close to £100,000, and that’s before associated expenses.
Still, when you come to bemoan the inevitable decline in council services, cheer yourself with the thought that whoever succeeds Councillor Kam Adams as Speaker will have a chauffeur to zoom him/her about in superfast style.
David Altheer 100120
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