NEW figures show Kirklees Council’s leader claimed nearly as much for train fares, food and hotel stays as the other 78 councillors put together.
Clr Mehboob Khan received £5,254 in 2011/12 for travel and subsistence outside Kirklees – 46% of the total amount for all 79 councillors.
But the Greenhead Labour man said yesterday he had many duties, including attending meetings of the Local Government Association (LGA) in London.
“As full-time council leader, I frequently represent Kirklees at a local, regional and national level,” said Clr Khan.
“In the last year I have also chaired the LGA’s Safer Communities Board – something which means I can raise our successes and our issues with the leading experts in the country, and fight at a national level to bring improvements in public health.
“I also campaign on issues like metal theft and fight for us to receive our fair share of investment to improve our economy and the number of local jobs.
“Working with the LGA on such important topics means that the benefits are felt directly in our own communities.”
Clr Khan added that he tried to keep his claims to a minimum.
“I am always conscious of the cost of travelling to meetings and for that reason I only ever travel standard class and look to group meetings together to limit the journeys I have to make,” he said.
“I have only claimed for two hotel stays as I sleep on a sofa bed at my son’s flat when I am in London.”
The figures released yesterday showed that Kirklees councillors claimed £11,195 between them last year for travel and subsistence outside Kirklees.
The information runs from April 1, 2011 until March 31, 2012 and includes 79 councillors, including 10 who either retired or lost their seats at the council election in May 2011.
The expenses are on top of the basic allowance of £12,566 a year which is paid to every councillor.
Senior members of Kirklees also receive a special responsibility allowance, which ranges from £1,227 for serving on the Overview and Scrutiny Management Group to £25,155 for leading the council.