East Renfrewshire’s councillors racked up more than £12,000 in expenses claims last year, the Barrhead News can reveal.

Reimbursements were given to existing and former elected members for meals, training and travel.

The largest amount, £2,880, was attributed to Provost Jim Fletcher, although £2,609 of this was for use of the civic car, which was paid for directly by the local authority to BMW.

Council leader Tony Buchanan claimed £1,553, while Conservative member Barbara Grant received £2,131, with both councillors having been reimbursed £996 for two Cosla conferences dating back to 2016.

Alan Lafferty, environment convener, was the only other councillor to claim more than £1,000, with £498 paid for training and conferences and £530 for telephone and ICT expenses.

Ms Grant said: “ I attended two Cosla conferences. It’s not just one day, it’s two nights. One of those conferences took place in the previous year but they didn’t include it in that year’s expenses.

“Cosla has four representatives on the committee and I’m the Conservative member. When we go to these conferences, it is seen as part of our duty, so we are not paid extra for attending. We are paid expenses.”

The total amount of expenses listed came to £12,175.

Although attributed to members, East Renfrewshire Council paid companies directly for mobile phones, broadband, taxi costs and attendance at civic functions.

That meant the elected members didn’t receive any cash back for these expenses.

Ms Grant was the only member to claim for subsistence and meals, totalling £14.

The highest amount for phones and ICT services was claimed by Independent member David Macdonald, whose total came to £718.

Conservative member Jim McLean had the lowest amount claimed of any current councillor, with just £13 of phone and ICT expenses paid out.

A number of former councillors were also listed. That group had a total expenses claim of £713 until they stopped working at the local authority.

Former environment convener Vincent Waters claimed £244 and had the highest expenses of the ex-councillors.

Ian McAlpine, ex-convener for corporate services, spent £159 on phone and ICT, while Mary Montague received £108 for her phone and ICT and £9 for other travel expenses.

A spokesman for East Renfrewshire Council told the Barrhead News: “Councillors are entitled to claim for expenses incurred while carrying out official duties as part of their role.

“This can relate to fares for use of public transport, mileage and other expenses as part of training or conferences. A mobile phone and broadband facilities are also provided, as required, to allow councillors to meet the needs of their constituents.”