Coun­cil­lors ex­penses have fallen for the third year in a row

Rutherglen Reformer - - Council Finance - Edel Ke­nealy

Coun­cil­lors in South La­nark­shire cost the tax payer £1.27mil­lion in the last fi­nan­cial year.

The county’s 64 coun­cil­lors were paid a ba­sic salary of £16,893 in 2016/17, but sev­eral re­ceived ad­di­tional pay­ments for chair­ing com­mit­tees and fill­ing roles with ad­di­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The coun­cil­lors’ salaries were pub­lished last Thurs­day along­side their ex­penses, which have fallen for the third con­sec­u­tive year.

Elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang area col­lec­tively cost £219,280 in wages.

For­mer coun­cil­lor Ed­die McAvoy re­ceived a leader’s salary of £39,419 and Pam Clearie a de­pute provost salary of £24,546.

Her hus­band, Russell Clearie, was paid £20,172 as chair­man of the Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang Area Com­mit­tee.

Across South La­nark­shire Coun­cil ex­penses ac­crued by elected mem­bers to­talled £63,231, a drop from £69,042 in 2015/16 and £84,476 in 2014.

The big­gest ex­pense to the coun­cil con­tin­ues to be travel, with a to­tal spend of £35,564 on mileage in the last fi­nan­cial year.

The sec­ond largest out­lay for the coun­cil was tele­phone and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy us­age which amounted to £13,657 for all coun­cil­lors.

For con­fer­ences and train­ing a fur­ther £7,310 was paid out.

Coun­cil­lors across Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang were amongst some of those who claimed the least in ex­penses.

Cur­rent Labour MP can­di­date Ger­ard Killen claimed just £97 for tele­phone us­age, with Robert Brown, Lib­eral Demo­crat can­di­date, claim­ing £98 for the same pur­pose.

For mileage Wal­ter Bro­gan was re­im­bursed £1,178, Russell Clearie £1,677, Brian McKenna £870 and Den­nis McKenna £431.

The civic car, typ­i­cally used by the leader of the coun­cil, cost £54, whilst the provost’s civic car cost £13,047 for the year.

Paul Man­ning, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of fi­nance and cor­po­rate re­sources said: “Elected mem­bers have a wide and var­ied role to play - from at­tend­ing for­mal com­mit­tee meet­ings in Hamil­ton to go­ing to meet­ings and events with con­stituents and local groups across the South La­nark­shire area.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, de­pend­ing upon their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, coun­cil­lors may also at­tend Scot­land-wide groups. Rea­son­able trav­el­ling and sub­sis­tence ex­penses are pro­vided to elected mem­bers in or­der that they can ful­fil their role as ef­fec­tively as pos­si­ble.”

The amount of mem­bers’ re­mu­ner­a­tion and ex­penses and the ar­range­ments for pay­ing them are gov­erned by leg­is­la­tion which came into force on April 1, 2015.

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