Conflicting opinions on mayoral budgets

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A SENIOR council director has admitted tough decisions need to be made over the future role of a mayoral title dating from the 19th century after conflicting views emerged within the authority on cost-cutting measures.

The Yorkshire Post revealed yesterday that a wide-ranging review to slash spending had drawn up proposals which could see the Mayor of Scarborough’s chauffeur service axed.

The mayor would be faced with either driving or catching a taxi to civic events under the plans aimed at saving as much as £25,000 from the civic budget.

But Scarborough Borough Council released a new report yesterday which revealed that the authority’s resources scrutiny committee had now maintained a car should be retained for the mayor’s use.

A final decision will now be taken by senior members on the council’s cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday next week.

The council’s head of legal and support services, Ian Anderson, has been overseeing the progress of a mayoral task group which was set up in September last year to investigate where savings could be made in civic budgets.

He said: “Although members of the resources scrutiny committee have not recommended that the mayoral chauffeur service be discontinued, savings still need to be made and cabinet will have a difficult decision ahead of it.”

The cost of the mayoral service is currently £88,586, with the bulk taken up with employing a civic officer and the contract for a car and chauffeur service.

Other proposed cost-cutting measures include ending the annual mayor-making evening reception and cutting the mayor’s hospitality funds for the Scarborough Cricket Festival. A mayoral title for Scarborough has existed since 1836.

The council is having to make nearly £2.2m in savings across all its services in the new financial year to counter a dramatic fall in the Government’s funding.