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Councillors fly off' with £2,500 of taxpayers' money

PUBLISHED: 18:17 03 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:27 12 August 2010

COUNCIL bosses spent more than £2,000 of taxpayers money jetting off around the world, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Bromley council bosses spent £2,431.38 in one year for airfares including trips to the USA, Canada

COUNCIL bosses spent more than £2,000 of taxpayers' money jetting off around the world, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Bromley council bosses spent £2,431.38 in one year for airfares including trips to the USA, Canada and Austria.

The most expensive trip from 2007 to 2008 was a five-day outing to Toronto, for one officer to speak at the Walk 21 conference in October 2007.

The event, which had 400 delegates from 19 countries, was aimed to motivate attendees to implement plans "to put the pedestrian first".

Leader of the Bromley Liberal Democrats David McBride (pictured) said: "It is ironic spending money on air fares to improve something for pedestrians.

"They should not shell out on these trips considering council tax is going up and this council is moaning that they don't have enough money to do what they want to do. They need to look at where they are shelling out their resources and whether it will improve residents' lives.

"It would be a better idea to fix what is wrong in the borough first without going abroad to see how it is done there."

A further £771.11 in the same year was authorised for Bromley council workers to spend on subsistence whilst abroad including bills for hotels, taxis, meals and other expenses. A spokesperson for Bromley council said: "The benefits of attending the Walk 21 conference include international recognition of the work Bromley has been doing, building international links and contacts with other local authorities, which are still being utilised today through the interest and participation of international schools in projects we carry out, and learning from and exchanging best practice."

The American trip was for a social worker to carry out an adoption viability assessment of close relatives of two children, who could not be cared for by close relatives in the UK.

The council spokesperson added: "The council closely monitors all its spending and was recently awarded a top rating of four stars for Use of Resources by the Audit Commission."

Bromley was the most frugal in the area coming in at 94 out of 338 British councils investigated.

Nearby Greenwich council spent the most money coming 24th on the list, spending £16,154.61 in airfares to the USA, Germany and Jamaica.

Their most expensive airfares were £14,023.20 when they sent six people to Beijing in November 2007 before they hosted the Olympic Games, as reported in the Times. Neighbouring Bexley council came in at 67, spending £4,723 on airfares and £3,670 on subsistence.

Their most expensive trip was £5,618 for the then Leader of the council Ian Clement to attend a leadership course in the USA, as reported in the Times.

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