An investigation by the3towns has revealed that a former Labour councillor who lost his seat at the election last May pocketed travel expenses of £2,608 in the last financial year, most of which was claimed in relation to taxi journeys.
Documents secured by the3towns under Freedom of Information legislation show John Reid also claimed £251.42 under the heading of ‘Car and Van Mileage Paid by the Council’. Mr Reid, who until May represented Dalry & West Kilbride, was additionally paid £740.70 to cover his phone and IT costs, £47.09 for ‘Subsistence’ and £395 under a heading of ‘Training and Conferences paid by the Council’. In total, the former Deputy Leader of the Council was paid expenses of £4,042.43 in the 2011/2012 financial year, which was in addition to his salary of £24,353.04.
Following earlier revelations by the3towns regarding North Ayrshire councillors claiming and being paid travelling expenses without providing details of why they had made journeys, the local authority’s senior officers issued ‘guidance’ to all elected members, reminding them of the requirement to provide such information. However, in the claims submitted by John Reid, a total of 47 journeys were recorded simply as ‘Portfolio Duties’. No details of the actual journeys were provided, but the Council paid Mr Reid £840.50 for these trips.
In a further 47 claims, Mr Reid’s forms again stated ‘Portfolio Duties’ but included a destination, such as a local town or Council office. For these trips the former councillor received £1,068.70.
On six separate occasions Mr Reid claimed and was paid £5.00 to cover taxi journeys between the office of North Ayrshire Leisure Limited and the Council’s headquarters, which are both in Irvine. Another taxi journey, costing taxpayers £30.00, was claimed by John Reid to transport him to the Waterside Inn at Seamill.
Strangely, the then councillor for Dalry & West Kilbride also claimed and was paid a total of £160.00 for five separate taxi journeys from Irvine to Cumnock.
The investigation by the3towns revealed that, in the four financial years spanning April 2008 to March 2012, North Ayrshire taxpayers paid John Reid a total of £113,261 in salary and expenses.