Revealed: How much you forked out for high-paid council chief’s rail, taxi and hotel bills

Richard Harbord
Richard Harbord

Taxpayers paid out more than £16,000 in rail, taxi and hotel expenses in a year to the man brought in to turn around Boston Borough Council’s financial fortunes.

Surrey-based Richard Harbord was employed as a short term troubleshooter at the council in 2009, and his £121,500-a-year 15-day-a-month contract is expected to be extended until 2015 on Monday.

The Standard has obtained the details of the £675-a-day chief executive’s expenses following a Freedom of Information request.

In 2010/11 he claimed £16,017.17 in total for rail and taxi journeys and overnight hotel stays.

He claimed £2,021.20 for hotel stays alone in 2009/10 and £1,440.77 in 2010/11. All bar two were at the White Hart and ranged from £82.61-£148.64 a night.

In 2009/10 he banked £7,945.77 for rail fares and taxis. That was £14,576.40 in 2010/11, £820 in 2011/12 and £1,074 to date in 2012/13.

He lodged 13 rail bils in total in 2010/11 - the highest being for £1,437.75 on February 11, 2011. His previous rail receipt had been paid on January 7.

His expenses are now largely covered by his salary - which is paid to his business rather than directly to him.

A spokesman said the arrangement was in the ‘best interests’ of the work of the council and ‘met fully the council’s policies on such matters’.

Council leader Peter Bedford said: “Richard Harbord represents excellent value for money. The savings he has enabled the council to make in the time he has been here far outweigh his cost. The council is now performing the best it ever has and that’s not just me saying that – we have just received a first class audit.”

Mr Harbord refuses to say if he travels first class on trains or why he opted to stay at the White Hart.

Members will discuss Mr Harbord’s pay at their full council meeting on Monday.