Clydesdale cllrs claiming more due to travel

South Lanarkshire Council HQ. Photo by John Lord
South Lanarkshire Council HQ. Photo by John Lord

South Lanarkshire councillors claimed almost £66,000 in expenses last year.

Most claims made were for travel costs – including more than £44,000 in mileage – while £10,940 was paid by the council for phone and IT costs.

Councillors claimed £1718 more in expenses last year than they did in 2017-18.

Clydesdale councillors claimed more on average than those from other areas, mainly due to the increased travel required to represent constituents.

Combined expenses and salaries paid to councillors in 2018-19 increased by almost £22,000.

In total, £1.307 million was paid to councillors last year – less than in three of the previous four years.

Leader of the Council, Cllr John Ross (Hamilton South) earned more than any other councillor with a before-tax salary of £39,655.

Basic pay for the majority of councillors was £16,994, however leaders of opposition groups, committee chairpersons and the Provost and Depute Provost all earned over £20,000.

Provost Ian McAllan (Clydesdale East) was one of 30 councillors who did not claim any mileage, however the council spent £8826.44 on the Provost’s civic car.

At the other end of the scale, Clydesdale South councillor Colin McGavigan claimed £4695 in mileage – more than any other councillor.

He also claimed the most expenses in total at £4983. Cllr Catherine McClymont (Clydesdale North) was the only other to receive over £4,000 in expenses.

Cllrs Robert Brown (Rutherglen South), Katy Loudon (Cambuslang East), Jim McLachlan (Hamilton North and East) and Jim Wardhaugh (East Kilbride East) claimed the least amount of expenses at £118.

That was just £1 less than Cllrs Janine Calikes (Rutherglen Central and North), Margaret Cowie (Rutherglen South), Geri Gray (East Kilbride South) and Provost Ian McAllan.

An SNP spokesperson said: “All expense claims are within the guidelines set down by the Government.”

Lib Dem deputy leader Cllr Mark McGeever (Hamilton West and Earnock) said: “I think all parties would agree with us that it’s crucial people can trust the expenses claimed by councillors are genuine and reasonable costs incurred in the course of their duties. The system rightly requires councillors itemise any expenses and submit receipts which have to be approved.”