A councillor this week explained why he topped Stirling Council’s expenses league table.
On Wednesday, the Stirling Observer revealed that members of the council had claimed a total of £428,428 in allowances and expenses for the 2012/13 financial year.
Only £18,124 of the figure was expenses for items such as travel, a drop of almost 20 per cent compared to the previous year’s amount.
Councillor Fergus Wood, who represents the Trossachs and Teith, received the highest amount of expenses: a total of £3568.
Yesterday (Thursday) he explained what his claims covered.
“I am the most remote councillor, living at Kinlochard,” said Councillor Wood. “Just to go to the council is a 52-mile return trip.
“I have 10 community councils to cover, the furthest, Strathfillan, being over 100 miles return journey.
“The report covers the full financial year and some of the councillors (newly elected) were not in office for the entire year.
“My food covers a few meals prior to surgeries in Crianlarich and Killin, which start at 7pm, plus one event in Stirling when flooding prevented me getting home and I had to book into a bed and breakfast.”
The total expenses claimed by the 22 members amounted to £18,124, more than £4000 less than last year’s figure of £22,633.
The drop can be attributed to a decrease in mileage claims for journeys, with over half of the expenses claimed in mileage reimbursements. This figure dropped by over £3000 in the 12-month period to £11,216.
The £428,428 figure is not inclusive of car mileage expenses met directly by the council, which amounted to a further £7504. A total of £5132 of this was for fuel for the Mercedes made available to Stirling Provost Mike Robbins.
For a full breakdown of the expenses see www.stirling.gov.uk/__documents/temporary-uploads/governance-_and_-resource/2012-13-statement_5.pdf.