Council expenses payments reduced
Cost of claims from elected members cut by £15k
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