This comes after we revealed last week that Bracknell Forest’s 42 borough councillors had been paid almost £590,000 between them in total for allowances and expenses claims for 2013-14 Among those calling for a reduction in allowances was Lis Casey, who lives in Binfield. She wrote on the News’s Facebook page: “I think it is not the modest expenses that are the issue here... it is the huge ones from our elected representatives at the top that I have issues with.” Mary Gilchrist – also posting on www.facebook.com/bracknellnews – added: “No-one would complain about necessary expense claims but these are ridiculous and just appear greedy.” Another News reader, using the username Forester on our website, www.bracknellnews.co.uk wrote: “Why should it take any more than a dozen competent councillors to oversee a place like Bracknell?
“Do we really need 42 of them – most of whom deliver very little beyond Tory lobby fodder and forming a queue to be the next mayor?” However, defending councillors’ right to allowances, Patrick Cooper wrote on our Facebook page: “Coun- cillors – many with modest means who would really lose financially (some meetings are held in the working day) – should claim and be paid, and all payments should be scrutinised by an independent body.
“All councillors should be aware of the financial circumstances of the majority of their constituents and make sensible claims – even those in executive positions.
“We want our councillors – who are hardworking and civically aware – to be held in high regard by the electorate.” Bracknell Forest councillors were paid £589,124.92 in a combination of allowances and expenses between April 1, 2013, and March 31 this year. This fell from £591,784.73 the previous year. All councillors are paid a basic allowance of £8,687.04 and are entitled to claim for mileage, travel and subsistence.
The total bill in allowances and expenses for Wokingham borough councillors for 2013-14 was £584,996.