Mayor budget faces cutbacks

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SCARBOROUGH’S mayoral role could lose its chauffeur-driven luxury under plans to slash civic budgets.

Scarborough Council has announced new proposals to scythe expenditure by more than £20,000 in the mayor’s office, with expensive lunches and corporate entertainment for councillors at Scarborough Cricket Festival also facing the axe.

The grandeur of the traditional mayor making evening reception will also be discontinued under the plans and replaced with a smaller lunch and reduced guest list.

The move comes after a survey of more than 1,300 residents in the borough found 92.5 per cent wanted a reduction in Scarborough Council’s civic and mayoralty budget.

A number of responses cited the mayor as an integral part of the community, though many tempered the positivity by questioning the role in the austere climate.

The council’s Mayoralty Task Group, headed by Cllr Dilys Cluer, took on an extensive investigation into the role of the mayor and are set to deliver their recommendations next week.

A report from Cllr Cluer said: “The council will be able to make some savings without causing any significant adverse impact on the mayoralty.

“Most respondents were not concerned how the mayor arrived so long as they attended the event, though some speakers did think having a prestige mayoral car was important.

“A suggested approach to achieve savings was to use a local taxi service where the nature of mayoral commitment suggests a hired vehicle and driver is necessary.

“This would change the chauffeur contract to using a combination of mileage expenses and taxis which could significantly reduce the costs of the chauffeur service.

“Under this option, the mayor would be required to drive themselves to functions where this proved to be both practicable and reasonable.

“In this age of austerity, we also recommend the mayor making evening function be discontinued as this currently costs in the region of £3,000.

“We recognise the Civic Day at the annual Scarborough Cricket Festival is used as a reciprocal event to host other neighbouring authority civic heads to promote the Borough.

“However as this event is arranged for approximately only 12 other local authority civic heads with just a few business guests, we recommend the Civic Day be discontinued as potential savings on the Civic Luncheon could save in the region of £2,000.”