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ARB expenses increase exposed

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The ARB's expenses payments to board members over the last two years have been revealed, after a bid under the Freedom of Information Act.

The accounts expose a dramatic increase in payments from 2003 to 2004. In 2003, 23 board members claimed a total of £48,170, while just 12 months later a reduced 15 members managed to take home nearly £54,000.

The papers also show sudden payment increases to individual members. Most dramatically, Alan Crane, a lay member and chair of the prescription committee, has seen his payments rise almost tenfold from £800 to £7,900 in the 12 months.

Other high recipients include Michael Starling, a lay member and industrial designer, who took home £6,100 last year. In 2003 he received £2,800.

At the other end of the spectrum is John Spencely, the former chair of Reiach and Hall, who has consistently refused to make any claims.

Deputy chair Soo Ware, a Bartlett School of Architecture teacher, claimed £3,200 in 2003, a figure that jumped to £5,060 a year later.

Humphrey Lloyd, the judge who became chair in 2003, has a lower claim for 2004 - at £1,000 - than in the previous 12 months, when it was £1,200.

Board members do not just receive expenses, they can also claim 'emoluments' - payment for work undertaken for the board. This is understood to be £200 per half-day. This includes days spent reading documents in preparation for board meetings.

The figures came to light this week as a result of a Freedom of Information bid by former board member Ian Salisbury. In 2004, Salisbury received £1,200 in expenses.

'I did not feel comfortable taking this money, so I gave all the payments I received from the ARB to the Architects Benevolent Society, ' Salisbury told the AJ. 'This is why I was so astonished by the amounts some members were taking.

'The comparison that I would like to make is with the thousands of people who give their time for nothing to such institutes as the RIBA because of their love of architecture. The comparison is not favourable.

'The payment of £200 for a half-day would be attractive for any hard-pressed architect and that's why I find these details distasteful, ' he added.

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