Kirklees councillors have kept their wallets and purses in their pockets while on official council business.

The annual expenses list shows the public purse has remained closed most of the year with the vast majority of councillors claiming nothing at all.

A total of 49 of the 69 serving councillors in 2015/16 made no claims for expenses last year.

The figures reveal the total spend by all councillors was only marginally more than the spend of former leader Mehboob Khan alone during his final year in power.

The top spender last year was former Conservative group leader, Clr Robert Light, who claimed £1,229.05 on travel outside of the borough.

Clr Robert Light outside 10 Downing Street

Councillors are not allowed to claim for travel within Kirklees.

Clr Light also spent £260 on ‘subsistence’ outside of the borough, typically meals or hotel bills.

His spend was more than double that of council leader, Clr David Sheard, who only claimed £521.10 on travel and just £20.49 on food and drink.

Typically the council leader would have the highest expenses due to meetings with other councils or other bodies of government.

Kirklees Council leader David Sheard
Kirklees Council leader David Sheard

During Mehboob Khan’s tenure as leader, his expenses were regularly over £5,000 a year and topped out at £6,659 in 2013/14, the year he stood down as leader.

The second highest bill in 2015/16 came from Labour’s Clr Eric Firth who racked up a bill of £789.55 while on council business, £480 of which was subsistence.

The Dewsbury West member said he did a lot of travelling in his role as chairman of the National Association of Councillors, but would double check his subsistence claim.

Mirfield Tory Clr Martyn Bolt came third with bills totalling £678.51 and fourth was Clr David Sheard.

Green leader Clr Andrew Cooper came in fifth with £440.31 of travel claims but no food bills.

Lib Dem leader, Clr Nicola Turner, was one of those who made no claim at all.

Clr Nicola Turner, leader of the Kirklees Liberal Democrat group

Clr Light said he topped the league because he had made “four or five” trips to London to lobby for Kirklees which Clr Sheard had not.

“I’m the only member of the council that has actually been engaging with government,” said Clr Light. “I’ve been putting a case for Kirklees nationally.

“That’s what David Sheard hasn’t been doing – that’s the problem.”

Clr Light said the meetings in London were vital for securing cash for the borough and during his term as leader they had been key in Kirklees getting back the £1m lost in the Icelandic bank crash of 2008.

Altogether, councillors claimed £6,857 in expenses last year, up from £5,012 a year prior but half of what was claimed in 2013/14, £12,124 of which more than half was by then leader Mehboob Khan.

Kirklees councillors expenses

£6,857

2015/16

£5,012

2014/15

£12,124

2013/14

Kirklees Council

Council rules limit hotel spending to £105 per night in London or £90 a night elsewhere.

The evening meal allowance last year was just £10.35 while the lunch limit was only £8.37.

The annual allowances and expenses list also shows which councillors earned the most.

All serving councillors received basic pay of £12,566.04.

The leader received an extra £25,155 for his extra duties.

Deputy leader, Clr Jean Calvert, received an additional £18,866.04 for her additional duties.

READ MORE: Departing Kirklees Tory chief criticises councillors who haven't paid council tax

READ MORE: Five Kirklees Council councillors in the dock for not paying their council tax

The seven other cabinet members, Clr Graham Turner, Clr Peter McBride, Clr Viv Kendrick, Clr Cathy Scott, Clr Steve Hall, Clr Shabir Pandor and Clr Erin Hill, were boosted by an extra allowance of £12,273.96.

The total bill for councillors’ allowances and expenses was £1.162m, down £2,000 on the previous year but £13,756 higher than in 2013/14.