East Ayrshire's 32 councillors - including those from the Cumnock area - were paid more than £750,000 last year, according to new published figures

However, only £6,722 was claimed in expenses by elected representatives from across the whole of East Ayrshire - mainly for car mileage.

The details are revealed in figures published this week by East Ayrshire Council (EAC).

A further £8,165 was spent on councillors' telephone and internet connections, use of council cars, and attending outside meetings, but that cost was picked up directly by the council.

Deputy leader and SNP member Jim McMahon who represents Cumnock and New Cumnock, earned £28,549 and claimed a further £1,058 in mileage.

Depute Provost Claire Leith (SNP, Ballochmyle) was paid £27,746, but did not claim a penny in expenses.

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Independent Doon Valley councillor Drew Filson, who is cabinet minister for localities, earned £27,182 and claimed £2,893 for mileage.

Of the other Ballochmyle ward councillors, Linda Holland (Labour) and William Lennox (SNP) each earned £17,698, while Tory Allyson Simmons was paid £19,464.

In the Cumnock and New Cumnock ward, Labour's William Crawford was paid £19,474 and June Kyle, also Labour, £17,644, with the Conservatives' Neil Watts also receiving a salary of £17,644.

Councillor Kyle also claimed £504 in mileage.

The remaining Doon Valley councillors - Jennifer Hogg (SNP) and Elaine Stewart (Labour) - were each paid £17,694.

Councillors Hogg and Stewart also made mileage claims of £249 and £847 respectively.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) say councillors work, on average, 38.5 hours a week, meaning that the hourly pay rate sits around £9.27.

Cabinet members responsible for portfolios such as education, finance, roads and the environment receive extra income.

The highest earner last year on East Ayrshire was council leader Douglas Reid, who received £39,245, but only claimed £149 in mileage.

And the area's Provost, Jim Todd, was paid £27,971 in recognition of his civic role, but did not claim any expenses.

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Only 11 of the area's councillors submitted any expense claims during the year - with all the claims being for car mileage costs.

East Ayrshire Council has four levels of remuneration payments for councillors, depending on their responsibilities. They are leader of the council, provost, senior councillor and councillor.

A spokesperson said: “The expenses incurred by each councillor vary depending on a number of factors including the distance they live from council headquarters, the area covered by their ward and attendance at meetings of external bodies.

“When councillors use their own cars for council business, they are also entitled to reasonable reimbursement for their out-of-pocket expenses, in accordance with the regulations.”

Details of the payments to each councillor are available in council local offices and libraries.

The total salary payout of £757,133 is up on the 2021-22 figure of £729,413.

And the total expenses claim is also up on the previous year's total of £2,774 - though that lower sum is partly explained by the Covid restrictions which were still in place for part of the year.

The full sums paid in salaries and expenses to East Ayrshire's councillors is available at east-ayrshire.gov.uk.