Mervyn and Linda join the mile high club (council mileage that is!)

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Mervyn and Linda join the mile high club (council mileage that is!) thumbnail

THE latest expenses claims made by local reps have been released - and they once again reveal that when it comes to taking cash from the public purse, some are literally miles ahead of the rest!
All councillors get the 'basic' flat rate of 14,485, but many boost that sum with 'special responsibility allowances' that can run into thousands.
There are other little perks along the way too. How does 120 a year for mobile phone bills cost? Or 200 for broadband?
Not enough? Well, what if a free top of the range iPad and iPhone are thrown in to sweeten the deal?
Those special offers are open to all reps, but some disparities do emerge when it comes to optional payments like mileage.
Some councillors, 13 at the last count, do not claim any at all - even though they could be pocketing 65p per mile.
But who's in the driving seat when it comes to the really impressive council claims? Which local reps are joining the 'mile-high club' in 2018?
Two local councillors are leading the way with eye-catching claims this year - DUP rep Linda Clarke, and UUP man Mervyn Rea.
Last year Linda was paid 1,448 for her regular trips from Randalstown - but she smashed that this year with a remarkable claim for 2,339.
Councillor Rea's figures are up this year too, but his overall claim of 1,967 requires some explanation.
Of that sum, only 1,255 was claimed for mileage. Of the rest, 488  was claimed for 'travel incidentals' and 224 for 'subsistence'. Incidentally, both of those claims were the highest in the 40-member chamber.
*Read the full story in this week's Antrim Guardian


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