The Leader of Lichfield District Council has sought to clarify the nature of his allowances.
Councillor David Smith made the statement on his website in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal that is currently making national headlines.
His comments follow those of colleague and County Councillor Matthew Ellis who admitted some voters were linking the events in the House of Commons to local politics.
In the statement, Cllr Smith said:
“In the light of all the the present exposures over MPs expenses I thought it was important to explain what I am able to claim.”
He went on to list his allowances:
- I claim mileage to attend meetings at an agreed rate per mile.
- I attend the LGA Conference (last year in Bournemouth) for this we have a set allowance for hotel and out of pocket expenses. Last year the cost of hotels exceeded the allowance and I met the extra cost.
- As leader of Lichfield District Council I sit on a number of Local Government Boards and working groups, most of these meet in London these average around two or three each month, for these I recover the actual cost against receipts, in almost all cases I travel by Tube and not by taxi.
- Where I receive entertainment I pay for any tickets personally to avoid any conflict of interest.
- I do not benefit from any living allowances and my special responsibility allowance is a matter of public record on the Council’ web site.
- I have renounced my right to receive any increase in special responsibility allowances for the next financial year.
Lichfield District Council’s figures show that in the 2008/2009 period (year ending March 31), Cllr Smith received a total of £21,051.40. This was broken down as £2,499.30 for mileage, £3,020.90 expenses, £2,981.09 basic and £12,550.11 responsibility allowance.
The figures put him top of the table of mileage claimants and second in the list of expenses claimants amongst Lichfield District councillors behind Cllr John Wilks, who claimed £5,565.32.
The overall mileage claim of councillors was £10,382.43 and their collective expenses were £19,490.89