Sidmouth councillor’s expenses revealed

PUBLISHED: 10:30 27 June 2011

Cllr Stuart Hughes. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 3456-10-11AW

Cllr Stuart Hughes. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 3456-10-11AW

Archant

Allowances and mileage and subsistence total £33,770.24.

SIDMOUTH representative Stuart Hughes has defended claiming more expenses than any other county councillor last year.

The authority’s cabinet member for highways and transportation received £6,345.20 in mileage and subsistence in 2010/11.

This was on top of a special responsibility allowance of £16,455 and basic allowance of £10,970.04- giving a total of £33,770.24.

Councillor Hughes said this week his Devon County Council (DCC) allowances were justified due to his responsibility managing a £100million budget and 8,000 miles of road networks.

DCC leader John Hart claimed £5,012.70 in expenses, while Sidmouth rural representative Roger Giles received just £12.15, according to figures.

Mr Hughes said he hadn’t even claimed the maximum amount for expenses- like petrol, travel, parking and food- incurred while travelling the county and working up to 70 hours a week.

“So far this month I’ve done nearly 600 miles,” he said.

“Devon has got more miles of road network than Belgium- that puts it (expenses) in perspective. I wish I could cycle everywhere but I can’t.

“My job involves me driving right round the county. I’ve got a huge responsibility. There’s nothing untoward in that.

“Things like highways, street lighting, pay and display parking, public rights of way and busses all come under my remit - even coastal area flooding.

“I was elected as a county councillor. Although I represent Sidmouth, I represent the whole county as the cabinet member for highways and transportation.

“I haven’t claimed anything I shouldn’t have claimed for- in fact, I don’t claim up to the maximum and there are a lot of things I don’t claim for at all.”

In the 2009/10 financial year- the most recent figures available- Mr Hughes received £10,582.25 in East Devon District Council (EDDC) allowances and expenses.

Just £38.45 of that was for travel and subsistence.

EDDC said on Wednesday it will publish its councillors’ expenses and allowances for the 2010/11 financial year in the coming weeks. Mr Hughes said his basic and special responsibility allowances, £4,359.96 and £6,183.84 respectively in 2009/10, would be less.

DCC said the cost of paying allowances to councillors has dropped by nearly £100,000 in the last two years.

DCC leader Cllr Hart said: “We promised the people of Devon we would ensure the council was run more efficiently and effectively with a more business-like approach.

“We started by cutting the cost of actually administering the council and the allowances paid to councillors themselves.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Sidmouth Herald