Leeds & West Yorkshire

Mayoral roles costing nearly £2m

The cost of Lord and civic mayors at councils in North, South and West Yorkshire is almost £2m per year, the BBC has learned.

In Leeds and Bradford combined the mayoral role cost at least £587,136 while in Kirklees it cost £173,232.

In Sheffield the mayor's year cost £175,976 with the authority saying it was an "important civic role".

The figures were obtained via a Freedom of Information request to councils by BBC News in Yorkshire.

The total cost of mayoral offices calculated from the figures provided from the FOI request showed that the councils spent £1,971,000 on the roles.

In North Yorkshire Scarborough spent £90,222, Harrogate £83,821 and York £138,774

In Leeds the figures showed that the mayoral role cost £308,433 for the year 2010/11 with £27,845 being spent on food and hospitality and £8,172 going on clothing for the mayor and partner.

Mayoral engagements

Bradford's figures on the cost of the mayoral role included £262,454 for staff along with £16,249 for transport costs.

But officials at Bradford Council did not include the costs of hospitality, food or events.

Across the Kirklees area, the mayoral year saw expenditure of £16,456 on transport but just £629 on hospitality for guests.

A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: "Communities across Kirklees continue to invite the mayor to attend and support events that they are organising, and the mayor and deputy have attended more than 500 engagements throughout the year."

In Sheffield the role accounted for costs of £38,107 on hospitality while £62 was spent on official photographs.

A Sheffield City Council spokesman said: "The Lord Mayor plays a very important civic role in the city.

"The Lord Mayor's expenditure has reduced by almost £80,000 over the last five years."

Regalia insured

In Barnsley the mayoral year cost taxpayers £219,367, a figure that included non-civic events and "recognition events" for troops who had served in Afghanistan.

A spokesman said: "The mayor in Barnsley plays a valuable civic and ambassadorial role for the borough.

"The mayor is well regarded by local people of all ages, young and old, and is well sought by many organisations to support their activities.

"The council has no doubt that the money was well spent."

Rotherham's mayoral role incurred costs of £18,100 for hospitality and the insurance costs for regalia and chain of office was £886.

Rotherham council said in a statement: "The mayor is the civic figurehead of the borough and represents Rotherham at an international, national and regional level while also supporting our local communities .

"We strongly believe that the costs of having a ceremonial mayor in Rotherham are far outweighed by the benefits it brings to the borough and its people."

The councils at Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale, Harrogate and Doncaster did not respond to requests for comments on the mayoral expenditure.

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