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Salisbury in ARB expenses swipe

The ARB's arch-antagonist Ian Salisbury has launched another attack on the beleaguered board - this time over the secrecy surrounding members' expenses.

Salisbury hit out at the fact that he is 'completely in the dark' over the levels of in-house expenses, calling for the full disclosure of all money paid by the board to its members.

Speaking at last week's ARB meeting, the Oxford-based architect maintained that there was no reason for the board to act any differently to the House of Commons, where MPs now publish all their expenses and disbursements - including those of their private secretaries.

'All amounts should be disclosed on the public interests register - just like MPs - and board members who get paid more than £10,000 in any one year should have to be recorded in the annual report, ' he said.

In response, the honorary treasurer has now referred the issue to the finance and establishment committee.

Commenting after the meeting, Salisbury said: 'I don't know whether board expenses will have to be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, but I suspect they will be. It would be much better to do this without the need for anybody to test it. The board should be one step ahead of the freedom of information commissioner.' And Salisbury believes the move would go some way to removing the veil of secrecy seen by many to be hanging over the ARB. 'Architects don't have any option but to pay the retention fee so, at the very least, we should know how that money is being expended on our behalf.

'Expenses have never been accounted for - not even to me as a board member. I can't see any reason why they are kept in confidence other than to save the embarrassment of those who get paid quite a lot of money. What possible damage can it cause? There is nothing contentious in this whatsoever, ' he added.

In response, ARB chief executive Robin Vaughan said: 'I don't think anyone would have any particular objection to this but it will be up to the committee to decide in January. My view is that it would be extra work for someone with no benefit to anyone.'

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