Bolton Council is publishing the total expenses for all councillors for the last three financial years.
Details of amounts claimed are fully available to view on the council website from Tuesday August 25 and are accessible to all members of the public.
Expenses claimed by councillors are divided into three areas; a basic allowance received by all councillors; a special responsibility payment made to some councillors with more responsibility or decision-making capacity and travel and subsistence expenses claimed by councillors in the course of their day-to-day work for the council.
The first two of these payments have been made public for a number of years, together with the total figure for subsistence claims. However, Bolton's councillors have now decided to proactively release the details of their travel and subsistence claims online following a number of requests to the council from the public for this information.
Details can be viewed on the council website at bolton.gov.uk/councillorsallowances
On the page where the information is stored there are explanatory notes, together with links to the full breakdown of travel and subsistence claims over the past three years. This information is then broken down alphabetically for each councillor. Accompanying the links to the detailed breakdown of claims are further links to files showing the total figures for basic allowance and special responsibility payments made to councillors.
The majority of subsistence claims by councillors are for basic travel and food expenses, including travel to and from the Town Hall and to other venues across the borough to attend meetings, ranging from Area Forums to full Council meetings. Factors which influence the amount claimed by a councillor may include the distance travelled from their home to meetings, how often they attend meetings and whether they attend any meetings outside Bolton.
When totalled together all subsistence claims for 2008/9 by Bolton's 60 councillors are just over £7,000, which averages around £117 claimed by each councillor in Bolton across the whole year. More than 50 per cent of Bolton councillors have not claimed any subsistence expenses at all over the last three years.
Alan Eastwood, Director of Chief Executive’s Department, said: “Bolton councillors have decided to be proactive and issue their detailed expenses claims for the past three years. They are doing this following a number of requests from the public that have been received by the council for this information.”
He added: "Councillors in Bolton are sensible in their claims and the total amount claimed by all 60 members in the year 2008/2009 was just over £7000. We have always provided details of the total expenses claimed by all members and full councillor allowances. However, we hope that by issuing a detailed breakdown for each councillor, we will reassure the public that councillors are acting responsibly and prudently as elected representatives of the people.”