May 18 2011 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Wednesday
STIRLING’S councillors have claimed almost £10,000 less in expenses over the last year – but still managed to rack up a total of around £432,000.
The council this week published a breakdown of members’ expenses for the year ending March 31, 2011.
Basic salaries varied, depending on the responsibilities and remits held by the councillors.
Top of the claimants was council leader Graham Houston (SNP), who claimed a total of £27,267, while for the second year running Labour’s Violet Weir claimed the least with a total of £16,438.
Councillor Houston’s claim, however, mainly consisted of salary and allowances for positions held, otherwise only receiving £209 as part of telephone and ICT expenses in costs directly met by the council.
All but one councillor (the Lib-Dem’s David Goss) received the direct phone/ICT payments which ranged from £204 to £378.
Provost Fergus Wood, who lives in the Aberfoyle area, made the second highest total claim with £23,252. As well as allowances and some minor charges this included £2537 for mileage.
Third highest claim, and the highest from the main opposition Labour group was rural councillor Paul Owens. He claimed £21,773, including £18,264 in salary and allowances and £3244 in mileage.
His fellow Labour councillor Colin O’Brien, who also represents a rural ward, claimed £16,233 in salary in allowances and the second highest mileage claim with £3230, however, he ranked 13th of the 22 councillors in terms of total claim, which reached £20,028.
In terms of subsistence, only three councillors claimed for meals – Colin O’Brien (£120), Paul Owens (£25) and Fergus Wood (£15), with Provost Wood the only one to claim for accommodation (£75).
The councillor with the lowest claim, Labour’s Violet Weir was paid £16,234 in salary and allowances, with her only other addition a direct payment from the council of £204 under telephone and ICT.
Ten councillors claimed no mileage at all including Councillor Weir, Neil Benny, Callum Campbell, Colin Finlay, John Hendry, Graham Houston, Alasdair Macpherson, Corrie McChord, Steven Paterson and Jim Thomson.
For a full breakdown of the expenses and to find out what your local councillors claimed go to: http://www.stirling.gov.uk/2010-11statement.pdf