AS RUMOURS circulate around Pembrokeshire newspaper comment threads and social media about the sighting of a luxury German sports saloon in the County Council’s car park, the Pembrokeshire Herald did some light-hearted digging about a car described on the Top Gear website as ‘truly hideous’.
The Porsche Panamera is shown as a competitively priced, practical car affordable for all families in Pembrokeshire, turning in an economical 23mpg, with four seats and a price tag for purchase ranging from a mere £64K to a highly affordable £131K for the top spec model. The website bestcarfinder.co.uk gives an indicative leasing price of £776 pcm to £820 pcm. Well within the reach of even the lowest paid Council employee, provided they were prepared to eat, sleep and raise their children in it. So, here we have a car that anyone in Pembrokeshire could buy or afford to drive. A prudent choice in these times of straitened public finances, we can all agree. Who would use such a vehicle as their daily transport in times when, as IPPG leader Jamie Adams is ever keen to point out, the budget settlement from the Welsh Government is so ‘challenging’ that he could only create two new Cabinet posts for his IPPG colleagues? It is alleged that despite massive cuts to front line services, driving a luxury sports saloon car could be one of the perks of being the Council’s Chief Executive Officer. Having been asked to hand back over £40K in unlawful payments and embroiled the Council in its biggest scandal since the last one he presided over, the popular and genial Bryn Parry Jones is widelyrumoured to have availed himself of a Porsche Panamera at Council Tax payers’ expense. The Pembrokeshire Herald asked the Council to confirm or deny the rumour, and to confirm – in the event they were true – just how much the CEO’s vehicle arrangements were costing the Council, how the expenditure was being funded and which Council committee approved the expenditure. A council spokesperson said: “The Chief Executive’s contract requires the Authority to provide a car of his choice and to insure it for social, domestic, pleasure and business use for (himself) and all members of (his) immediate family”. “The terms of the Chief Executive’s lease car allowance have been the same since 1995. “The make and model of car chosen by the Chief Executive is entirely a matter for him.”