SOUTHAMPTON city council has slashed the amount of money paid out in mileage rate claims by a third this year - new figures have revealed.

Civic chiefs were reimbursed a total of £289,926 for work related journeys between 2016 and 2017.

The figure is £125,000 less than the £415,650 paid out in the previous year.

Council bosses say the reduction comes after a review into the authority's mileage claim scheme.

A council spokesperson said: "The council has reviewed the criteria for roles requiring a car and the entitlement to a car allowance.

"There has also been a reassessment of contractual car users, who are also eligible to claim mileage for business purposes.

"This has subsequently brought down the overall numbers and hence the amount of claims.

"This has resulted in over a 30 per cent reduction in spend on mileage claim costs."

The figure was revealed as part of an investigation by the Taxpayers' Alliance into mileage rates of councils across the country.

According to the data, the city council pays 45 pence per mile – on par with the recommended rate set by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Neighbouring authorities such as Hampshire Council, Test Valley Borough Council, Fareham Borough Council and Eastleigh Borough Council also all paid the 45 pence per mile rate.

However, as previously reported in the Echo, the Taxpayers' Alliance were critical of authorities such as the New Forest District Council and Winchester City Council, both of whom reimbursed staff 65 pence per mile.

Despite criticism, Winchester City Council said it had "no plans" to reduce its mileage rate."