Coun­cil ex­penses pay­ments re­duced

Cost of claims from elected mem­bers cut by £15k

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - NEWS - Stephen Tem­lett

Coun­cil­lors in Dum­fries and Gal­loway are con­tin­u­ing to cut down on their ex­penses.

The lat­est set of fi­nan­cial fig­ures to the year end­ing March, 2018, shows the sum paid out to mem­bers in ex­penses has dropped to £87,078.

It is down by £15,000 from the £92,009 in 2016 and is way down on the £120,884 paid out three years ago.

Labour’s Ron­nie Ni­chol­son is one of two coun­cil­lors who did not claim a penny for the fi­nan­cial year.

Mr Ni­chol­son said: “I’ve never claimed ex­penses as a coun­cil­lor. I’m not in the coun­cil to make money.

“But I do com­pletely un­der­stand coun­cil­lors who do claim ex­penses for trav­el­ling to out­ly­ing con­stituen­cies.

“There are mem­bers who travel from Stran­raer for ex­am­ple where I think that’s rea­son­able. This isn’t a party is­sue for me.

“I’m for­tu­nate I rep­re­sent North West Dum­fries which is quite a com­pact area but there are oth­ers which are a lot big­ger.

“Coun­cil­lors do try. We know bud­gets are tight so ev­ery coun­cil­lor from all par­ties tries their best to keep ex­penses low.”

Once again North West Dum­fries coun­cil­lor Gra­ham Bell did not claim any­thing for the year.

The Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor has avoided claim­ing ex­penses for years and in­sists “ev­ery­one should play their part” when it comes to savings.

In to­tal coun­cil­lors re­ceived £899,159 when salaries are added. That is down from £966,442 in the pre­vi­ous year.

The drop will be due in part to the num­ber of elected mem­bers de­creas­ing from 47 to 43 at the last elec­tions in 2017.

Tory coun­cil­lor An­drew Guisti, who rep­re­sents Stran­raer and Rhins, had the high­est claim of any mem­ber. He re­ceived £6,189 with all but £112 of it be­ing ac­counted for by travel costs.

No claims Ron­nie Ni­chol­son

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