Road safety minister Dr Stephen Ladyman revealed that the cars in the Government Car and Despatch Agency fleet travelled approximately 2,394,200 miles in 2004 and 2005 and 2,834,000 miles in 2005 and 2006, an increase of 439,800.
These are the only years for which figures are available with incurring a ‘disproportionate cost’.
Dr Ladyman said: ‘These figures are for the entire car fleet operated by GCDA, including its short term hire and Green Car services. The increase in mileage in 2005-06 compared to 2004-05 mainly reflects increased use of GCDA’s short-term hire and Green Car services. Usage of the allocated car service for ministers and senior officials was broadly in line with the previous year.’
Commenting, Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary, Alistair Carmichael MP said: 'It is estimated that the taxpayer will pay £18m for ministerial cars this year. Ministers currently have over 200 chauffeurs. It is time to bring these spiralling costs under control. The government must justify this massive increase in ministerial car use.'