Councillors Agree 8% Hike In Travel Expenses

Council Chamber at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

Council staff can spend 8% more on their food and hotels.

Members have voted to increase their expenses when they are working away.

Director of Finance, Peter Lawrence-Roberts said expenses were last reviewed in November 2009 and, over that period, inflation measured using the CPI index had risen by 8.3%.

He argued Councillors and officers should be free to spend £23.91 for an evening meal in London and up to £136.07 for a full 24-hour trip.

Councillor Christine Savill agreed, saying “the numbers are quite small and you’d be hard-pushed to get an decent meal for £23 something” in many cities.

She also said many younger, female officers would prefer to be able to eat in the safety of a hotel, rather than having to find cheaper restaurants.

But Councillor Richard McCarthy said it didn’t seem right to be increasing expenses at a time “when the Chancellor is talking about a double-dip recession.”

Councillor Pearson said the increase was only in line with costs that members were actually incurring. He added that, with the likelihood that officers would be asked to go another year without an increase in salary, it was only right that expenses should go up.

Councillor Amanda Martin felt it would be useful to get an itemised breakdown of expenses so members could see what was being claimed for.

Councillor Marian Bennett wanted this data to include information on officers and members who don’t claim, although Administration Officer Sue Pritchard said to do this, she would need to be advised every time someone went away.

However, Chief Executive Philip Hygate implied members might “proclaim that they weren’t claiming when they had no intention of claiming in the first place.”

The proposal was passed with Councillor McCarthy voting against.


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