Why are former Lib Dem leader and Eastville Councillor Steve Comer‘s travel and subsistence expenses so high?
Since he won the Eastville election in 2005 he has claimed £2,481.36 in travel and subsistence expenses (£411.06 in 05-06, £409.27 in 06-07, £955.01 in 07-08, and £706.02 in 08-09) and and has been the highest claimant by far in each of those years.
The total of claims for the last four years are as follows;
Steve Comer (LD) £2,481.36
Peter Hammond (Lab) £641.91
Gary Hopkins (LD) £447.40
John Bees (Lab) £363.90
Barbara Janke (LD) £363.90
C Smith (Lab) £345.40
P Abraham (Con) £290.65
R Stone (Lab) £212.50
J Smith (Lab) £205.04
C Davies (LD) £189.50
J Clark (LD) £183.85
D Pickup (Lab) £162.30
M Wright (LD) £158.00
There are then 11 councillors who have claimed for amounts belows £100 (3 Lib Dems, 1 Conservative, 7 Labour) and over half of our councillors have made no claims at all.
Over the last four years total transport and subsistence claims from councillors are £6,527.25, of which Comer accounted for £2,481.36 (or nearly 40%) on his own.
The average annual claim over the four years (excluding Comer) was £106.47 while Comer averaged £620.34.
No doubt there’s a “perfectly reasonable explanation” for Comer’s large expenses claims and it’s obviously “all within the rules”.
So has he done far more traveling on council business than any other councillor? And why? Or does he get a lot of free lunches off the council taxpayer?
I think we should be told …