'Moon trip' claim leads to review of Nottinghamshire councillors' travel expenses

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A review is to take place into Nottinghamshire Council members’ travel expenses after claims one councillor could have ‘driven to the moon and back’ on the mileage they claimed.

A report is being drawn up by council bosses and will be presented to the authority’s governance and ethics committee in September.

Coun Philip Owen, committee chairman, has promised a “full and frank discussion” when the report is presented.

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It comes after it was claimed one councillor could have driven to the moon and back on the mileage they claimed, leading to Coun Steve Carr, a Liberal Democrat, calling for expense claims to be investigated.

A review is underway into county councillors' expenses claimsA review is underway into county councillors' expenses claims
A review is underway into county councillors' expenses claims

Speaking at the latest committee meeting, Coun Francis Purdue-Horan, a member of the opposition Independent Alliance, said: “I welcome a review of councillors’ travel expenses.

“I noticed there was significant, adverse publicity in the local press and I understand at least one serious allegation has been submitted for investigation.

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“What format will the review follow to ensure we re-establish, or at least reassure public confidence, in the scheme and who will be invited to give evidence?”

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Coun Owen said: “I imagine the report will set out the parameters of the current scheme, to see whether those parameters are still applicable.

“It will look at other ways for business to be conducted without the necessity to travel because we are in a changing situation and the pandemic has highlighted that.

“We are in a county which is, I think, 50 miles from top to bottom, so if you live at the top, it’s a long way to attend meetings and perfectly legitimate to claim travel expenses.

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“That will be the format of the report and I’ve no doubt there will be a full and frank discussion and members of the committee at the time will be free to make what observations and comments they wish.”

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Purdue-Horan said, “We have the situation that some councillors are claiming way and above what others do. One could have driven to the moon and back for each of the last two years and other claims need investigation.”