Row over council expenses

Labour Group leader Alex Phillips has called for a crackdown on travel allowances after a handful of councillors racked up more than £6,000 over one year.

A members allowances register for the civic year 2011-2012 shows that of 16 councillors listed the highest claim was £1,790.75 from Conservative councillor Michael Wallace.

Cllr Phillips has questioned the need to spend this amount when taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet in Erewash and has called for audits of members’ expenses on an annual basis instead of the three yearly system used at present.

“Council tax payers must have confidence that their money is being spent in an accountable manner – and the allowances of elected members must be part of that process.” said Cllr phillips.

“It is our duty as elected representatives to ensure at all times that any and all public money is spent in a transparent manner.

“I’m aware that a change to the annual audit will put pressure on our internal audit team, but am convinced that this is our only credible option.”

In a response to Cllr Phillips Erewash Borough Council’s chief executive, Jeremy Jarosezek, said: “The mileage scheme is intended to compensate members for the expenses they incur in driving while carrying out their official duties. All claims are checked before payment.”

He said variation in claims was normal, reflecting different roles and responsibilities.