‘Expenses in politics are a key issue’

sir, Expenses in modern politics are a key issue, and one which all smart politicians treat very cautiously.

An extract from the website of NI Assembly member David Hilditch was published earlier this year which quoted Mr Hilditch as saying that he would not claim his Carrickfergus Borough Council expenses should he be re-elected to the NI Assembly.

He defended this by claiming that he had been misquoted - it is interesting that he decided to wait until after he was elected to correct this error on his own website.

Now however, it has been brought to my attention that Mr Hildtich, as well as claiming allowance for Carrickfergus Borough Council of £9738, and a salary in excess of £45,000, has had the audacity to claim £4794.50 in mileage over the previous tax year.

In real terms, David Hilditch has individually produced a bill to the taxpayer of over £60,000.

In the times of austerity that we are living in, I call on David Hilditch to justify claiming nearly £5000 on mileage, when he is already awarded a salary of over £50,000.

The ONS reported that in May 2012, the average salary for the UK was £24,000. Most people on this salary do not have the luxury of claiming expenses for mileage, however our MLA feels that it is appropriate to claim mileage when he is earning over double the average salary for the UK.

The only way we can end this cycle of irresponsible expenses claims is at the next election.

(Via email)

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