Expenses quest

SIR - The author of your leading article on the �33,770 paid by the County Council to Stuart Hughes in 2010/11 (SH 24/6) is couched in terms that imply the councillor’s claims were excessive. That seems a little unfair.

As the article explains, �27,425 of the total is for standard agreed allowances for doing the job; only the balance of �6,345 is for claimed expenses. That is not peanuts, but then it’s not likely to be when the guy has responsibility for highways throughout Devon.

I have no idea what level of expenses would be appropriate for the job nor, I suspect, would most of your readers.

We have to rely on the council to control expenses and make sure that claims are within its permitted code.

And, no less important, that someone of real sensitivity is appointed to challenge any claim that seems over the top, whether for councillor or executive. It is not a job for the office boy.

Ken Bridgman

Martletts, Connaught Close, Sidmouth

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ED: While I can appreciate that this story is open to interpretation, no implication was intended and it is right to emphasise that the substance of the article was based on irrefutable facts that are part of public record and is, quite understandably, something of high public interest.