Executives at Barnet Council have been jetting around the world to attend conferences at the taxpayers’ expense, it has emerged.

The two most senior officers in the authority spent thousands-of-pounds last year flying to Cannes, in the south of France, Boston, in the USA, and Edinburgh.

Chief executive Leo Boland’s trip to Boston last October cost Barnet taxpayers £1,549 and he has come under fire from opposition councillors who were not told he would be attending a training course abroad.

Earlier this year it emerged that council leader Mike Freer had spent £1,227 flying to a BT training course in Boston after Mr Boland gave him the green light to dip into council coffers to pay for the trip.

However, in a report submitted to councillors outlining his decision in January last year, Mr Boland failed to mention that he would also be attending a similar course in Boston.

Opposition councillors have reacted angrily to the revelation and what they see as a lack of transparency.

Councillor Jack Cohen, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “I’m astonished that the report didn’t mention the chief executive going to the conference. The council are being secretive again and they’ve been found out.

“My own view is that the conference was a complete waste of time. I’ve asked them repeatedly how it has benefited Barnet and I haven’t had an answer.

“I think the taxpayer will be outraged by this.”

A council spokesman said there was no need to inform councillors because the trip had been paid for from a budget set aside for training officers.

Deputy chief executive Brian Reynold’s flights to Edinburgh, to meet leaseholders of land surrounding Brent Cross shopping centre, cost a staggering £455.

Easyjet regularly fly return for around £60 and a Megabus coach would cost just £12 return.

He also racked up hotel bills totalling more than £1,600 last year including in Cannes, where he met developers interested in the borough’s regeneration schemes.

A council spokesman insisted the booked the cheapest flights and hotels available had been booked.

He added: “The council is committed to always achieving best value for Barnet council taxpayers when paying for training and conferences for officers and believes that the costs incurred for this travel were proportionate and resulted in positive outcomes for the council which far outweigh the costs.”

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This is ridiculous. People in Barnet pay their taxes for local services, not so council executives can jet around the world.

“If any council staff are travelling abroad, the least they can do is to get the best value tickets.”

Although the council prides itself on its green credentials, the trips to Cannes, Boston and Edinburgh, as well as a trip to San Francisco by Mr Freer last year, produced approximately 11.5 tonnes of carbon emissions.