Audit reveals Milton Keynes councillors over-claimed on expenses

City councillors who accidentally over claimed expenses could be asked to pay back the cash out of their £10,000 a year allowances.

Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 2:30 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:53 am

Several councillors put in claims for using their home broadband and telephones for council business.

But those expenses are ALREADY covered in the £10k ‘basic allowance’ all MK councillors pocket each year.

The blunders came to light during an internal audit. But the council insists the claims were not incorrect.

It is understood around five councillors over claimed, and now may be asked to repay the cash voluntarily.

On top of the basic allowance, all 57 MK councillors receive ‘special responsibility’ payments.

These range from £11,000 for a cabinet member to £620 for an opposition group leader. Committee chairs get between £4,500 and £8,000 for their role.

This year, due to the budget crisis, councillors have agreed their allowances will not increase.

They have also agreed to review the salaries of top MK council officers, including chief executive Carole Mills, who receives £155,540 a year.

The review will compare each officer’s pay with current market rates, particularly “with regard to the financial climate within MKC”.

It will also consider the person’s “positive contribution” and whether there is even a need to keep them at all.

“It’s just a routine good practice review and nothing to worry about,” said council leader Pete Marland.

The leader of the council receives a special allowance of £30,000 a year as the work involved is virtually a full-time job.

The lowest paid full-time employee at MK Council receives £16,302 a year. This is less than a one-ninth of the chief executive’s salary.

The average salary at MK Council is just under £28,000 - £27,963 to be precise. No employee is paid below the Living Wage of £7.20 an hour.