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Kent's county councillors' claims revealed

Kent County Council logo
Kent County Council logo

By political editor Paul Francis

County councillors received more than £1.8million in allowances and expenses last year, official figures show.

The total claims in 2009-2010 amounted to £1,812,700.

The figure represents an increase of about £50,000 on the £1.7m paid out the previous year.

One reason for the higher amount is that it covers claims made by councillors who lost their seats in the KCC election in 2009.

It meant that 112 members were entitled to claim allowances and expenses over the period instead of 84.

KCC allowances
KCC allowances

However, the sum also reflects the impact of a controversial decision by councillors last year to endorse a hike in their allowances that is worth eight per cent over four years.

Of the £1.8m, the largest amount was claimed by way of basic allowances – a flat payment of £12,766 that all councillors are entitled to claim for their duties.

That accounted for £1.07m of the total.

The second largest amount was paid to councillors with special responsibilities, which are given on top of their basic allowance.

These included members of the Conservative administration’s cabinet – the council’s key decision making body - who between them claimed £223,902 over the period.

Five of those claimed the maximum rate of £27,076 while others who served for shorter periods as cabinet members or received the old rate claimed between £19,143 and £23,754.

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below
What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below

County council leader Cllr Paul Carter (Con) received £54,360, a sum that included £41,593 for his job as leader.

Opposition Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Trudy Dean received £29,748. Others receiving special allowances include committee chairmen and deputy chairmen.

In addition to their allowances, councillors additionally received a total of £126,968 in mileage claims but appeared less inclined to take public transport to attend meetings with a modest £8,236 claimed for rail and bus fares - less than was claimed the previous year.

The authority’s "greenest" councillor when it came to public transport was Canterbury’s Graham Gibbens, who claimed £1,701 for various fares.

Other sums included £5,241 paid as carers’ allowances and £1,476 to meet accommodation costs.

Alex King, the Deputy Leader of Kent County Council, said: "It is a statutory duty to publicise the details of all member allowances and expenses claimed in the last financial year and we do this on our website in order to be open and transparent.

"Members' allowances are recommended by an Independent Remuneration Panel chaired by Fiona Leathers and are only reviewed every four years.

"They will remain frozen with no adjustment until 2013.

"The independent panel recommended last year that Members receive an 8 per cent increase to their basic allowances.

"This took into account inflation over four years, the size of the authority and the often long hours and workload on members."

How much was your county councillor paid in allowances? Find out here:http://bit.ly/dkNaP8

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