Nottinghamshire’s county councillors claimed nearly £44,000 in combined expenses in the most recent financial year.
Two Conservatives on the authority have explained their high expenses claims as the authority outlines its full claims list for 2022/23.
The council produces its councillor allowances and expenses list every year as a way of being transparent with the public about sums paid to elected members.
The new list is accurate for the previous 2022 to 2023 financial year, which ended in March.
The paper reveals £43,983.22 was claimed in total across the 66 elected members of the authority, which was more than £10,000 higher than the £32,254.55 figure claimed in 2021/22.
The 2022/23 total includes £35,206.42 claimed across the 35 Conservative councillors, £7,281.10 by Labour’s 15 politicians and £1,189.70 across the 15 Independent Alliance members.
The remaining £306 was claimed by Cllr Steve Garner, an unaligned independent.
The report shows some councillors claimed nothing across the financial year while others claimed thousands of pounds for travel and other expenditure accrued through their role.
Cllr Ben Bradley (Con), the authority’s leader, claimed £362.45 for the year, while senior cabinet members Cllrs Neil Clarke and Keith Girling (both Con) claimed £2,438.10 and £3,107.25 respectively.
However, the two highest claims were made by Cllr Tracey Taylor (Con), cabinet member for children and families, and Cllr Boyd Elliott (Con), who represents Calverton.
Both members have spoken out to clarify why their claims were the highest of all their peers.
Cllr Taylor, who claimed £4,877.18, said her expenses were for visits to schools, children’s homes and youth centres in “every part of Nottinghamshire”.
She says she also makes the 93-mile round trip from her Misterton division to County Hall several times each week.
She said: “I’m a cabinet member running one of the biggest portfolios at the council.
“This means I have to be at County Hall three or four days a week dealing with children and family issues as well as senior Conservative Group meetings.
“I live in the northernmost part of the county and this is a round trip of 93 miles.
“As well as my County Hall business, I regularly visit schools, children’s homes and youth centres every month, which can take me to every part of Nottinghamshire.”
Cllr Elliott, who claimed £3,472.55, said his expenses relate to work with outside bodies and separate charity work supporting struggling families in his division.
“A lot of it is expenses for the two outside bodies I chair, including Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE), which hosts events all around the county,” he said.
“During lockdown, I also helped to set up a shopping scheme for vulnerable residents that identified a cohort of people who can’t get out. I’ve carried on doing a lot of that.
“Without being able to claim my fuel, I possibly wouldn’t be able to feed all of those families so there’s nothing untoward there.
“I’ve got a huge interaction with my residents. You don’t put them all down and, as a Gedling borough councillor, I’ve never put a claim in.”
However, the expenses figures led to the Independent Alliance opposition group calling for a “proper review and a value for money assessment” of the expenses system.
Cllr Helen-Ann Smith (Ash Ind), the group’s deputy leader, added: “Councillors have a duty to ensure that we get the best value for money for taxpayers.”
In the report, Adrian Smith, the authority’s chief executive, says the sums accrued include the totals paid to councillors after claims were made.
All fees claimed by councillors were approved by the authority’s democratic services department prior to the report being published.
However, the figures do not include train travel or accommodation, which are funded by the authority but have not been featured in the report.
“Travel and subsistence amounts are the totals paid during the year based on claims made by members,” Mr Smith said.
“Members’ duties at times necessitate the use of train travel and overnight accommodation.
“Most of these costs are met directly by the authority and are not included in the figures.”
Below is the expenses list for each councillor, which includes travel expenses and ‘subsistence expenses’.
Reg Adair (Con): £81
Mike Adams (Con): £557.10
Pauline Allan (Lab): £234
Sinead Anderson (Con): £1,014.59
Callum Bailey (Con): £0
Matt Barney (Con): £1,455.64
Chris Barnfather (Con): £1,611.05
Ben Bradley MP (Con): £362.45
Richard Butler (Con): £600.60
Anne Callaghan BEM (Lab): £824.85
Andre Camilleri (Con): £643.05
Scott Carlton (Con): £1,954.35
Steve Carr (Lib Dem): £0
John Clarke MBE (Lab): £0
Neil Clarke MBE (Con): £2,438.10
Rob Corden (Con): £316.80
John Cottee (Con): £1,663
Jim Creamer (Lab): £60.70
Debbie Darby (Ind): £284.40
Samantha Deakin (Ash Ind): £0
Dr John Doddy (Con): £0
Bethan Eddy (Con): £302.90
Boyd Elliott (Con): £3,472.55
Sybil Fielding (Lab): £241.20
Kate Foale (Lab): £0
Steve Garner (Ind): £306
Glynn Gilfoyle (Lab): £523.95
Keith Girling (Con): £3,107.25
Penny Gowland (Lab): £0
Errol Henry (Lab): £101.25
Paul Henshaw (Lab): £1,084.05
Tom Hollis (Ash Ind): £447.30
Mike Introna (Con): £794.70
Richard Jackson (Con): £571.50
Roger Jackson (Con): £1,151.10
Eric Kerry (Con): £0
Bruce Laughton (Con): £1,976.85
Johno Lee (Con): £477
David Martin (Ash Ind): £0
John ‘Maggie’ McGrath (Lab): £0
Andy Meakin (Ash Ind): £0
Nigel Moxon (Con): £0
John Ogle (Con): £2,258.20
Kane Oliver (Ind): £42.20
Philip Owen (Con): £387.86
Michael Payne (Lab): £0
Sheila Place (Lab): £1,871.10
Mike Pringle (Lab): £2,340
Francis Purdue-Horan (Ind): £82.40
Mike Quigley MBE (Con): £1,049.45
Sue Saddington (Con): £824.40
David Shaw (Ash Ind): £0
Helen-Ann Smith (Ash Ind): £0
Sam Smith (Con): £782.55
Tom Smith (Con): £0
Tracey Taylor (Con): £4,877.18
Nigel Turner (Con): £475.20
Roger Upton (Con): £0
Lee Waters (Ash Ind): £65.30
Michelle Welsh (Lab): £0
Gordon Wheeler (Con): £0
Jonathan Wheeler (Con): £0
Daniel Williamson (Ash Ind): £0
Elizabeth Williamson (Ind): £0
John Wilmott (Ash Ind): £168.75
Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind): £99.35