RECORDS tumbled last year as Royal Borough councillors claimed the highest amount of expenses reported in the council’s history.

The borough’s 57 councillors claimed £603,775.26 in allowances in 2013/14 - more than £20,000 up on the previous year and the highest on record - comprehensive allowance payments are published on the Royal Borough’s website back to 1998/99.

The figures include the highest ever amounts paid out in mileage claims, special responsibility allowance and ICT allowance.

By way of comparison, the 41 councillors in Slough were paid £438,825 in the financial year 2013/14.

Council leader David Burbage said: "Slough’s 41 councillors are marginally more expensive than the Borough’s 57 despite our increase last year - which itself was mostly due to the historic holding down of the cost of Government, until I increased from seven cabinet members to 10 in late 2012/13.

"The Royal Borough also covers a far larger geographic area which means not only increased mileage, but also the time spent to get to and from meetings is more than in compact Slough."

Special responsibility allowance - which is paid to councillors who hold positions of office - skyrocketed from £158,539.59 in 2012/13 to £177,284.58 last year, accounting for the vast majority of the overall rise in allowance payouts.

Of the 57 councillors who served in 2013/14, 20 drew more than £10,000 with the highest payments going to Cllrs David Burbage, Simon Dudley and Phill Bicknell - council leader, council deputy leader and deputy chair of cabinet respectively - while ten councillors claimed no extras aside from their basic allowance.

Cllr David Evans, one of the ten non-claimants, said: “It just so happens a lot of meetings I go to are on my way home from work so it wouldn’t make sense to claim. Its not me taking some moral high ground about not claiming! It just wouldn’t make sense to.” A total of 21 councillors claimed the maximum of £250 ICT allowance - with a further five claiming more than £200 - contributing to a total of £7,436.26 in ICT allowance payments. This is the highest amount claimed since ICT payments were introduced in 2008/09, though only up by around £400 on the year before.

See this week's Observer for the full list of allowance claims by councillors