Expenses: What your councillor claimed

Scarborough Town Hall Picture by Andrew Higgins   121831h  02/05/12
Scarborough Town Hall Picture by Andrew Higgins 121831h 02/05/12
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Scarborough councillors claimed over £25,000 in expenses between them last year, according to figures published by the authority.

In total, elected members claimed £25,009.77 in 2011/2012 to cover expenses incurred while carrying out their roles.

This amount is approximately 16 per cent more than councillors claimed in 2010/2011.

The money was claimed on top of councillors’ basic allowances, which in 2011/12, was £3,837.96.

This money, which is paid automatically to councillors in monthly instalments, increases as members take on additional roles and responsibilities, such as chairing committees or becoming a cabinet member.

The maximum basic allowance is awarded to the leader of the council, Cllr Tom Fox, who automatically received a basic allowance of £15,351.84 last year.

These sums are automatic entitlements, and are not claimed by councillors. However, members can choose not to claim them, such as former Hertford ward representative Nick Harvey.

In total, the total gross cost to the tax payer, which is inclusive of expenses and councillors basic allowances, was £281,564 last year.

In total, 65 councillors served during the 2011/2012 period, although this figure is inflated over the previous year due to the fact there was an election.

Of those, just over half of those claimed additional expenses for either travel or subsistence.

According to the council figures, the biggest claim by any councillor during this period was Cllr James Preston, who claimed £3,115.08 in travel costs.

However, almost all of this was for petrol, which councillors can then claim if they use their car on council business.

The smallest claim was made by Cllr David Jeffels, who received £1.70 for parking.

Of the 33 who did claim expenses, 17 solely claimed a petrol allowance. Those remaining claimed additional costs for incurring costs such as taxi and train fares, as well as the cost of their meals while away from Scarborough.

Other claims include a £5.40 toll charge claimed by Cllr Janet Jefferson, a £79 hotel claim by Cllr David Jeffels, and £17 claimed back by Cllr Derek Bastiman for left luggage while at a meeting at the House of Lords.

The allowance structure is set by an independent remuneration panel.

A council spokesman said the allowances would increase in line with the pay awards of local government employees, which have been frozen since 2009.

Councillors can use their basic allowances to cover the cost of fulfilling their duties without having to provide 
receipts to show how the money has been spent.

However, any additional expenses claimed for either travel or sustenance must be claimed with a valid receipt.

For a full breakdown of expenses, including exclusive figures detailing what the councillors claimed for, please pick up a copy of The Scarborough News.

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