Company cars - including a BMW, Jaguar and a Mazda - for Town Hall bosses are costing Westminster taxpayers' tens of thousands of pounds each year, it has been revealed.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act shows the council spends £84,000 to lease a fleet of 26 cars for top City Hall managers, raising questions over council spending as the downturn hits taxpayers.
Westminster and City of London Liberal Democrats, who put in the FOI request, have asked the council to explain why it needs to pay for senior staff to have sports cars when the borough is well served by public transport. The council says the figure is an over-estimate and does not take account of the contributions to running costs made by the staff.
Graham White, director of human resources at Westminster Council, said: "Like many companies in the private and public sector, Westminster offers competitive packages to retain talented staff and this can include a contribution towards leasing a car."
He said staff pay between £170 and £285 a month on a sliding scale according to their wage.
"Staff can choose any car but must make up the difference in the monthly payments (for the most expensive cars) themselves," he added.
Staff with high-polluting vehicles will be disqualified from claiming help with the cost of car leasing from next month.