A COUNTY councillor who received more travel expenses than anyone else has justified his claims – by insisting he works harder than his colleagues.
Saltney Cllr Klaus Armstrong-Braun’s travel allowance claim of £1,602 for the last financial year was £660 more than the second-highest on Flintshire County Council, while 42 councillors claimed no travel expenses at all.
Elected members are reimbursed at a rate of 40p per mile driven in a private car while carrying out approved duties, meaning Cllr Armstrong-Braun’s total equates to 4,000 miles.
But the Saltney Mold Junction councillor said the figure was a fair reflection of the hours he puts in at County Hall.
He said: “I’m the only councillor in Flintshire who comes in every day. I work 9am-8pm every day of the week, all the year round. I’m dedicated to my work and community.
“Many of the councillors never turn up at all except once or twice a year. There are some I haven’t even seen before!
“That’s why I have an added workload – because I regularly have to carry out duties that the Labour councillors should be doing.
“People say you can work from home. It’s utter rubbish. You’re given £12,000 – that wasn’t given by the Welsh Assembly so you could just sit at home.”
Cllr Armstrong-Braun added: “It’s for the public to judge. There’s no need to justify it.
“You ask the public should I come into County Hall? Should I come in every day and do my work? That’s the question I’m putting to them.
“If people don’t want me to do the job, let me know.”
Last year Cllr Armstrong-Braun came under fire after claiming almost £2,000 for travel and food in the 2009-10 financial year.
Councillors went on to decide they should no longer claim expenses for food when carrying out approved duties in the county.
A council spokesman said councillors using pool cars can claim for the cost of petrol upon the production of receipts.
He added: “Councillors are not required to produce receipts if using a private vehicle, but do have to produce mileage details and details of the reason for the journey.”