Nearly £1m paid to city coun­cil­lors

To­tal of £43,000 claimed in ex­penses

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JON HEBDITCH

Tax­pay­ers paid al­most £1mil­lion to city coun­cil­lors over the past year in wages and ex­penses.

A to­tal of £43,000 was claimed in ex­penses and £911,000 shelled out for salaries for the fi­nan­cial year 2017/18.

The statis­tics, run­ning from April 2017 to this April, show that 63 elected mem­bers in the city re­ceived a to­tal of £970,905.

The ex­penses bill for 2016-17 was £70,003 mean­ing ex­penses and salaries made up a com­bined to­tal £951,980 – up from £908,945 in 2015/16.

But this year’s fig­ures also take in many for­mer coun­cil­lors from the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion who lost their seats in last year’s elec­tions or moved on to other roles.

The city coun­cil has a com­ple­ment of 43 coun­cil­lors. The high­est ex­penses claimant was again Lord Provost Bar­ney Crock­ett who claimed a to­tal of £17,134 – of which £10,972 was on travel and £5,196 in sub­sis­tence on top of his £28,514 salary.

His de­pute Alan Don­nelly claimed a to­tal of £2,964 while in­de­pen­dent Bridge of Don coun­cil­lor John Reynolds raked back £8,307.

The coun­cil’s of­fi­cial civic car cost £16,275 to run for the year.

But sit­ting SNP coun­cil­lor Gill Sa­mu­rai, who rep­re­sents Dyce, Bucks­burn and Dane­stone, did not claim a penny.

The provost has claimed the largest amount on ex­penses, but reg­u­larly trav­els abroad for his role.

Mr Crock­ett, speak­ing from Nor­way where he is giv­ing a talk at the North Sea Com­mis­sion Con­fer- ence, said: “Al­most all of my ex­penses are for in­ter­na­tional travel, which I think ev­ery­one re­spects across the cham­ber as im­por­tant for fly­ing the flag and bang­ing the drum for the city.

“In­ter­na­tion­al­i­sa­tion is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant to the econ­omy of Aberdeen.”

SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said that for­eign travel should be more closely scru­ti­nised.

He said: “Peo­ple will un­der­stand­ably ask ques­tions as to why there has been a huge surge in the travel ex­penses of the Lord Provost in com­par­i­son to his pre­de­ces­sor in the role.

“We have pre­vi­ously been given as­sur­ances that a cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis of these jaunts abroad will be shared will coun­cil­lors so I look for­ward to read­ing it in full and find­ing out what the ben­e­fits re­ally are.”

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