Councillor’s travel expenses cause fury

Former Depute Provost Anne Jarvis
Former Depute Provost Anne Jarvis
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East Dunbartonshire’s former depute provost has become embroiled in an expenses row after claiming over £5,000 for car travel in a single year.

In the year 2016/17, directly before she stepped down before the last local elections, Tory councillor Ann Jarvis claimed £5,285.57 for “car and van mileage” on top of her salary of £21,533.62.

It was nearly double that of the second highest claim by SNP group leader Ian Mackay (£2,858.65) and more than treble that of the third highest, Lib Dem councillor Eric Gotts (£1,694.08).

Several other councillors, including former council leader Rhondda Geekie and current council leader Gordan Low, chose not to claim a penny for transport.

The Herald understands that the reason for the high total, which was legally claimed by Councillor Jarvis, was that she had moved out of East Dunbartonshire to live in the Perth and Kinross areaover a year ago.

In the recent council elections she was elected as a councillor for her new home and said: “I am delighted to have been elected to serve Strathtay. I have lived here for more than three years having moved to Perth and Kinross to be nearer my family.”

In 2014/15 she claimed £1,398.12 for travel and in 2015/16 the figure was £3,793.20.

To become a councillor a person must be resident at the time of the election but they are still allowed to serve if they then move out of the area.

One council insider told the Herald: “There’s a lot of anger about this - both as to why she claimed so much money and why the council allowed it.

“It’s a huge amount to claim, particularly when you have moved away and can no longer properly represent the people who have elected you.

“The fact that she’s just jumped straight into another council just makes it worse.”

Ann Davie, Depute Chief Executive - Education, People & Business, said: “Travel and subsistence expenses may be claimed by elected members for approved duties - as set out in Section 49 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

“When seeking election, prospective councillors must either be a resident of the council area at that time, registered on the electoral roll or working the council area.

“It would inappropriate to comment on the personal circumstances of current or former elected members.”

The Herald has contacted Councillor Jarvis who declined to comment.