DISTRICT councillors in Huntingdonshire claimed more than £370,000 in allowances and expenses in the 12 months to March 31. A total of 57 members on the 52-member authority - some served for only part of the year before retiring or failing to be re-elected - claimed sums ranging from £18,077 to £390, the latter serving only a few days before relinquishing their seats. The average payment was £7,124.46 per council seat. Most expensive was the council's leader, Councillor Ian Bates, who claimed £18,077.01 - a basic councillor's allowance of £4,070.54, his special responsibility allowances of £13,430.34, arrears of £7.60 and travel expenses of £568.53. Other six-figure claimants included executive councillors (cabinet members) Peter Bucknell (£13,545.05), Andrew Hansard (£13,645.79), Colin Hyams (£11,861.45), Deborah Reynolds (£12,888.44), Terry Rogers (£12,973.17) and deputy leader Mike Simpson (£14,473.78). Non-cabinet members notching up more than £10,000 were committee chairmen Councillors Steve Criswell (£10,640.95), Jonathan Gray (£10,308.38), Peter Mitchell (£10,963.92), John Sadler (£10,471.53) and council chairman Phillip Swales (£14,833.04). Opposition leader Councillor Peter Downes was paid £11,529.09. Top of the travel expenses claimants after the chairman, who attends a lot of functions during his year, was Councillor Maddie Banerjee, who lives in the extreme north of the district and claimed £2,080.85 for travel. The only councillors to claim subsistence expenses were Mrs Reynolds and Jean Chandler, who retired in May 2007. Unless they waive their allowances - which none did last year, although Cllr Richard Bailey (Buckden) ceased to claim his when he eventually resigned in March - councillors receive a basic allowance for carrying out their duties by attending council meetings. Additional payments can be claimed by those with special responsibilities, such as chairman of the council, committees and panels. They can also claim travel and subsistence associated with council meetings and other official council business, and allowances for looking after dependants while members are attending to council business.