Fears for role of Huntingdon mayor as town council cuts allowance

Councillor Bil Hensley, the current mayor of Huntingdon.

Councillor Bil Hensley, the current mayor of Huntingdon. - Credit: Archant

A cut to the mayoral purse will “push people out from taking on these roles” warned deputy mayor of Huntingdon Councillor Daryl Brown.

A cut to the mayoral purse will “push people out from taking on these roles” - warned deputy mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Daryl Brown.

The warning comes after Huntingdon Town Council decided at a meeting of its finance committee on December 19 to cut the amount of money given to those who take on the roles of mayor and deputy mayor of Huntingdon.

It was decided that the amount given to the mayor for 2016-17 will decrease by 30 per cent from £6,000 to £4,000.

Deputy mayor, Councillor Daryl Brown said: “I think members greatly under estimate in taking on the role I have spent my own money to get to engagements. If it falls we are going to push people out for doing these roles. A 50 per cent reduction is going to find the person doing the role massively out of pocket.”

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It had been proposed that the mayoral budget would be cut to £3,000, which would encompass travel expenses, but the move was opposed by the current mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Bill Hensley.

He said: “I don’t agree with the mayor’s purse being reduced by 50 per cent. It should be £4,000 and travel expenses, which takes it to around £6,000.”

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The budget for the mayoral purse for 2014-15 was set at £4,180 with an additional £1,130 given for travel expenses. It was then increased to £6,000 for 2015-16.

Talking to The Hunts Post, former mayor of Huntingdon Doug McIlwain said: “We are used to seeing the mayor out places but as the budget has been cut the mayor won’t have the money to do that

“They usually get invited to events in Peterborough and Cambridge and Bill has been to many of these. But with the cut the next mayor will not be able to go further a field to go out and promote Huntingdon.

“It will only able to be rich people that will be able to be mayor and no person wanting to take on the role should be out of pocket.”

Member of the finance committee Councillor Tom Sanderson has looked at where savings need to be made and he believes that the mayoral purse set at £4,000 is enough for the candidate to carry out the role.

He said: “We need to make some savings in some areas. I think it is important we have a mayor but I think £4,000 is enough for them to be able to go out and carry out their duties.”

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