New Study Shows Council Spending on Cars across the UK

In November and December 2013 Intelligent Car Leasing gathered data from 50 of the largest councils in the UK. By using freedom of information requests the councils were asked to reveal their 5 most valuable unique models of road-car under their ownership or management.

The results as expected were widely varied from sensible frugality to more expensive spending. This report outlines who the most economical and largest spenders were amongst councils, including some examples of what cars are currently used by public sector employees in the UK.

The Response From Councils

Out of 50 Councils that were surveyed for information 49 responded and 48 supplied the requested information.

Key Findings at a Glance

Local authority spending on vehicles infographic

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Making Sense of the Numbers In Full

Notable Frugality
The least expensive car owned by a council valued at only £6841 was the Smart Car under the management of Hillingdon Council. However this wasn’t just one low-cost vehicle in amongst a fleet of expensive purchases. Hillingdon also had the lowest average car value of any councils surveyed at only £10,526.

Close behind them and also noteworthy is Doncaster Council who had an average car value of £11,519. Both of these councils are a shining example of how to use tax payers’ money sensibly in a tight economy where leasing cars or buying second hand is sensible.

Higher Priced Vehicles
Although overall the results from councils showed a reasonable average spend (right in line with the national average of £27,219[1]) there were some notably high priced vehicles in the results.

One example of a high cost vehicle is the Bentley Flying Spur which costs at least £140,900 new. This car is individually owned by both ‘Cheshire East’ and ‘Cheshire West and Chester councils’. However the fact that the Bentley factory is in Crewe means that these acquisitions could be potentially be explained as a show of support for local industry.

Birmingham and Dudley councils are also worth mentioning; they did not have any single large purchases into the 6 figure levels like above; but their average car value was still at the higher end of the scale at around £50,000 each.

Table of Results

The easiest way to compare all councils is by average car value; as all respondents didn’t have 5 unique cars under their ownership/management. See the table below ordered from most to least expensive.


Average Car Value

Cheshire West £53,669.75
Birmingham £52,962.40
Barnet £50,000.00
Dudley £49,078.50
Cheshire East £46,428.50
Hull £39,995.65
Bromley £38,729.00
Walsall £38,496.16
Edinburgh £37,768.33
Wandsworth £36,666.67
Southwark £34,626.00
Liverpool £34,335.00
Croydon £32,792.20
Sunderland £32,140.00
Stockport £31,853.20
Northumberland £31,074.00
Leeds £30,615.00
Durham £30,200.08
Wakefield £28,238.93
Wiltshire £28,084.40
Newcastle £27,603.88
Belfast £26,250.80
Cornwall £25,607.00
Sheffield £25,012.04
East Riding of Yorkshire £24,178.40
Manchester £23,666.67
Glasgow £23,621.33
Enfield £22,652.01
Ealing £22,457.00
Bristol £22,194.39
Cardiff £21,617.60
Bolton £20,995.00
Redbridge £20,763.80
Kirklees £20,654.50
Bradford £19,663.35
Lambeth £19,543.49
Brighton £19,213.40
Lewisham £19,000.00
Shropshire £18,167.50
Wigan £17,857.50
Wirral £17,372.75
Sefton £16,959.00
Coventry £16,012.28
Leicestershire £15,752.32
South Gloucestershire £15,000.60
Doncaster £11,519.69
Hillingdon £10,527.00

Get the full findings

If you would like to look at the full findings of this research you can obtain the compiled results by downloading an excel report here. We kindly ask that you attribute Intelligent Car Leasing if referencing or redistributing the findings of this study in any way.

This entry was posted in Reports & Research on by Marc Murphy


  1. Did you mean Leicester (City of – a Unitary) not Leicestershire (County Council)? Or did you ask the wrong Council? Leicestershire is not in the top 50 councils by population, but Leicester is.

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