Glasgow's Lord Provost 'sorry' for £8,000 clothing expenses bill

Bbc

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09 October 2019 15:41

The Lord Provost of Glasgow has apologised and vowed to repay some of her expenses, after facing criticism for charging £8,000 worth of clothing to the public purse.

On Tuesday it emerged Eva Bolander had claimed for 23 pairs of shoes.

In a email to council members, she defended the claims, "made in good faith", with each "within the rules".

However, she added that "on reflection", she should not have chosen to reclaim some items.

She continued: "I am sorry about that and I am in discussion with financial services to come to an arrangement to repay the relevant expenditure".

What did she claim?

The figures, obtained by the Daily Record under a Freedom of Information request, cover claims between May 2017 and August this year.

The paper reported Ms Bolander spent £1,150 on shoes, including a single order for two pairs from Watford-based Sole Bliss which cost £308.

The Lord Provost's expenses also included £389 for Harris Tweed fabric, about £992 for 14 dresses and £435 for seven blazers.

Ms Bolander - who earns £39,310 - had her nails done 20 times and claimed for 10 hair appointments totalling £751.

The most expensive items were a pair of £358 spectacles and £200 hat from milliner William Chambers.

'I am sorry'

In a letter to councillors, the Lord Provost said she was "privileged to represent and advocate for Glasgow".

She said that it had "always been recognised" that the provost's role "carries an additional cost, taking place as it does almost entirely in the public eye".

Ms Bolander justified the spending, saying that her role "must be open to any elected member of the council", and that no one be excluded from taking on the job "by not having the resources to carry out the role".

She added that when submitting claims, she has always considered whether she would require the item were she not Lord Provost.

"Each has been made in good faith and scrupulously accounted for, within the rules", she continued.

"Although the spending incurred was within the rules, on reflection there are items which I should not have chosen to reclaim.

"I am sorry about that and I am in discussion with financial services to come to an arrangement to repay the relevant expenditure."

On Monday, a council spokesman said: "The national committee that oversees councillors' pay recognises that the requirement to represent their city at hundreds of events means Lord Provosts often incur personal expenses.

"For that reason, the Scottish government allocates a civic allowance to each council.

"For Glasgow City Council, this is subject to a yearly maximum of £5,000."

The civic allowance, which was introduced by the Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee, replaced the clothing allowance and reflects a councillor's public profile.

For that reason the Lord Provost is eligible to claim more than a backbench councillor.

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