EXPENSES claimed by Reading Borough councilors published on Tuesday show that only nine made any out-of-pocket claims last year.

The highest claim was from deputy leader Cllr Tony Page who was repaid �1,196 travel expenses during the last financial year.

The town's 58 borough councilors drew �439,806.40 in expenses and allowances between them with Cllr Tony Page's �15,269.22 for 2012/13 topping the list.

On top of his �8,220.96 basic councillors' allowance and �5,721.96 for his role as deputy leader, Cllr Page claimed �1,196.85 in fares, �24 in mileage and �105.45 in subsistence.

The next highest travel claim was �77 by planning chairman, Cllr Pete Ruhemann.

But the freelance PR consultant this week said the amount he billed Reading's taxpayers for travel - mostly train fares - is a "very, very low sum" which represents "excellent value for money" and he insisted he does not receive a penny for travelling inside the borough.

He said: "I represent the council on South East England Councils and quite a number of other organisations. I'm responsible for transport and planning and it may come as a shock to The Chronicle but that does cost money.

"I go to London on average twice a week, obviously the cost of these trips are born by the council because they are council business."

Next on the list was Jo Lovelock, leader of the Labour-controlled council, who claimed �15,225 - her basic �8,220.96 topped up with the �7,004.04 leadership allowance - but made no additional claims.

Three councilors claimed backdated cash for childcare, with Lib Dem Meri O'Connell receiving �115.50, the Green Party's Melanie Eastwood getting �80.50 and Conservative Ed Hopper �18.

Cllr Page was the only councilor who claimed for any meals - �105.45 - saying: "I represent the council at the annual conference and I think I'm entitled to be fed. Quite a few of the meals aren't included, so I will claim for sandwiches and cups of coffee."

He added: "It's a very, very low sum relative to the number of organisations I serve on. I have a rail card and I saved the council 50% of what I might pay. I travel off peak whenever I can, and I always buy the cheapest tickets possible."

Cllr Lovelock added: "Councillors in Reading receive a very small allowance - among the lowest in the country - compared to elsewhere."

The total �439.806.40 claimed by councillors in 2012/13 was down on last year's �439,900.41 but up on 2010/11, when the figure was �439,373.41.

Cllr Page sits on 12 outside bodies. These are:


Bus Lane Adjudication Service Joint Committee and PATROL (Parking and Traffic Regulations outside London)

Improvement and Efficiency South East

Local Government AssociationCll

South East England Councils

Thames Valley Police Authority

Joint Committee to agree Membership of Police Authority

Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel


Riverside Day Nursery

South East Employers

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce and Industry


Community Safety Partnership

Local Sustainable Transport Fund Cross-Boundary Councillor Steering Group

The nine councillors who claimed expenses were:

Cllr Tony Page - �1,326.30

Cllr Meri O'Connell - �115.50

Cllr Melanie Eastwood - �80.50

Cllr Pete Ruhemann - �77

Cllr Rob White - �51.60

Cllr Fred Pugh - �40

Cllr Ed Hopper - �18

Cllr Matt Rodda - �5.70

Cllr Bet Tickner - �5.10