Burnley Council defends £1,400 cost of Mayor-making ceremony following criticism from TaxPayers' Alliance

A TaxPayers' Alliance investigation has found that Burnley Council spent £1,473 on food and drink for the annual reception after the Annual Mayor Making council meeting in 2021.

Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance, criticised the costs which included a "two-course meal and tea/coffee for all attendees" when the council recently increased council tax by 3.8% for the 2022-23 financial year.

Data was obtained using a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

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Mr Fone said: "Taxpayers in Burnley struggling with council tax rises and a cost of living crisis will be fuming at these figures. While households are forced to tighten their belts, councillors and council officials are loosening theirs.

Burnley Council has been criticised by the TaxPayers' Alliance for the costs of its Mayor-making ceremony

"Town hall staff should stop taking the biscuit and make some much-needed savings for their residents."

Burnley Council defended the costs and highlighted the charitable fund-raising that goes on in the Mayoral year.

Coun. Cosima Towneley was recently made the new Mayor of Burnley, taking over from previous incumbent Coun. Mark Townsend.

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A Burnley Council spokesman said: "The title of Mayor of Burnley is a great honour and it's right to mark that in a proper way while, as we always do, making sure costs are kept down. Mayor-making is a long-standing tradition that is conducted by most other councils across the country.

"The annual mayor-making ceremony is an opportunity for family, friends, and others to celebrate the appointment of the incoming Mayor and look ahead to the forthcoming year when the Mayor will put in a great deal of work as an ambassador for our borough, as well as helping to raise thousands of pounds for local charities and good causes through the Mayor's Charity Fund.

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"The Mayor attends and supports, on average, more than 150 events a year and their attendance is much appreciated by those taking part.

"The cost of the lunch, which was attended by more than 70 people, included £1,000 on food and drinks (soft drinks, tea and coffee). The event was held at a venue run by Burnley Leisure, a local charitable trust.

"This is one of the main civic events of the year; no refreshments are provided at any other council meetings."