Readers shard their thoughts after it was revealed that Cumbria County Council staff spent almost £1million on expenses in the 2020/21 year.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request shows the total spent on purchase/business expenses for council staff up to November 8 as £982,889.82 with the majority of that (92 per cent) being spent on mileage.

Here's what you, the readers, had to say.

Carl Holding said: "Cumbria is a big place, not surprised most of it went on mileage."

Katie Gentry thought the amount spent on mileage could go towards improving public transport.

She said: "92 percent on mileage apparently, so fair enough. Although.... If the same amount went on improving public transport...."

In response to the findings, Cumbria County Council explained: "Business expenses in this instance is anything that a staff member spends (potentially from their own finances to get reimbursed at a later date.

"Typical examples will be fuel; hotel stays on council business; stationery.

"The council does not hold purchase/credit cards for this type of expenditure, we have corporate contracts and should staff incur expenses on behalf of the council they reclaim them via payroll expenses (iTrent)."

For 2020/21 the following expenditures were reimbursed to council staff:

  • Meals: £2,362.70
  • Rail fares/taxis: £5,775.42
  • Accommodation: £1,961.59
  • Fuel: £5,395.43
  • Parking: £5,053.58
  • Contribution to desks for home (max £80): £22,178.41
  • Fire Service phone allowance: £6,520.75
  • Business mileage: £904,846.14
  • No details held in General Ledger: £28,795.80
  • Total: £982,889.82

This total is separate to the allowances councillors are given across the county where a total of £975,032 can potentially be used by councillors, according to the Cumbria County Council Website.

The level of allowances is recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel, made up of people independent of the council.

All councillors (or elected members as they are also known) receive a basic allowance of £8,744 to perform their duties.