Council's flights bill for France trips is revealed

Wigan Town Hall
Wigan Town Hall

More than £6.7m has been spent on flights by local authorities in the past three years, it has been revealed.

Freedom Of Information requests submitted by the TaxPayers’ Alliance showed £6,792,500 was spent on air travel, with each council spending an average of £29,152.

Wigan Council paid £2,756 for 12 flights between January 2015 and February 2018.

There were four return flights each September from Manchester to Nantes, in France, for trips to Wigan’s twin town Angers.

A council spokesman said: “Each year four delegates, including the Mayor of Wigan borough, visit Angers to continue to strengthen those relationships and create fantastic opportunities for everyone living, working and visiting Wigan borough.

“It’s a great way to share best practice with businesses and communities, for example a planned visit coming up where delegates from Angers are visiting the borough to learn more about The Deal and how they can embed this into their community.

“The town twinning agreement has brought many economic and cultural benefits to the borough and we are sure it will continue to bring lots of opportunities in the future.”

Orkney Islands Council had the largest bill of £899,552, while Manchester City Council was the local authority with the highest bill on the mainland, with £199,977.

John O’Connell, chief executive of TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “For many families, council tax is the largest monthly bill to pay, and it’s shocking that their hard earned money is being misspent by some local authorities in this way.

“These local authorities need to find millions in savings in the coming years and with modern technology like video conferencing they needn’t spend large sums of taxpayers’ money on plane tickets.”