Councillors’ low expenses claims

St Annes Town Hall

St Annes Town Hall

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FYLDE councillors have shown themselves to be low spenders when it comes to expenses.

The Express, in a Freedom of Information request to Fylde Council, found councillors in the borough to be prudent spenders for the period January 1 to December 31 2012.

It revealed that of 51 councillors, just 15 have submitted expenses claims.

Most councillors are given a basic allowance of up to £3,500.

The highest claim made by any councillor is £1,192.73 for mileage, by Coun Peter Collins, who travels from Clifton to Town Hall offices in St Annes.

Coun Albert Pounder, who lives in Staining, spent the next highest, at £794.81 for mileage.

The lowest claim was made by Coun Howard Henshaw, coming in at £7.08, while Coun Karen Buckley was the next most careful member, submitting a mileage claim for just £18.78.

Compared to national averages, the money spent on expenses reflects well for the borough.

A Fylde council spokesman said: “All councillors are allowed to claim expenses but it is just these 15 that have done so.

“Most live relatively short distances from where they need to travel to, which probably explains why such a small number from 51 councillors have claimed.

“A Fylde councillor is allowed to claim up to a basic amount of £3,500. The national average for a councillor’s allowance is £6,099.

“If they are in a slighter higher position, for example a cabinet member, they can claim an extra £4,000 on top of this, taking their expenses to £7,500. Again, that compares to a national average of £9,710.”

The spokesman added the money spent demonstrates the controlled manner in which members allowances are used.

He added: “For the work that councillors do, these amounts are extremely small, especially when you consider the meetings they travel to and events they attend.

“The amounts agreed to for councillor expenses are set by an independent panel, and no members or council officers can be part of this.

“I would also add two years ago council members agreed to expenses below what the panel had recommended, demonstrating further their spending nature.”