Almost a quarter of Breckland councillors are picking up full allowances of more than £5,000 despite missing more than a third of meetings.
Allowance and attendance figures for 2012/13 show that 13 out of 54 serving councillors are receiving a full allowance of up to £5,199, despite missing up to two thirds of meetings.
Worst offender was Stuart Green, councillor for Dereham - Humbletoft, who went to just six out of 19 meetings he was scheduled to attend.
Cllr Green, 20, was paid a full allowance of £5,199.96 by Breckland – £866 a meeting.
He said he had missed meetings due to work commitments in his role at a retail stock-taking company. “I’ve been promoted recently and have taken a step back from council duties, including taking myself off some committees,” he said.
He said his attendance did not affect his ability to serve as a councillor and added that he would be ‘reviewing’ his allowances in future.
Bryan Skull, councillor for Thetford Guildhall, attended 56 per cent of his meetings – nine out of 16 – and also blamed work commitments.
“A colleague suffered a stroke last year and I’ve been covering his work. Things have slowed down and no doubt I’ll have a better attendance next year,” he said.
He said the allowances he had received were ‘hardly a fortune’ and insisted he had not claimed any other expenses.
Robert Childerhouse, councillor for Weeting, who attended 61 per cent of meetings, received allowances and expenses worth £6,004. That meant he received £667 per meeting - the highest of councillors in the Thetford and Brandon area.
He said councillors should not be judged solely on attendance.
“If you only want councillors with good attendance you will only get one type of councillor - people who are retired and have lots of time on their hands.”
William Nunn, leader of the council, said councillors should be aware before they stand for election that Breckland’s meetings are held in the day.
“We try and be flexible and shuffle things around when possible. Attending meetings is an important part of their job and when you have people attending less than half, it starts to get worrying,” he said.