Civic mayor debate after expenses row

Doncaster  Mayor Peter Davies.
Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies.

A FORMER civic mayor has been criticised after paperwork emerged showing how she claimed expenses to cover donations made in church collection plates and charity raffles.

Elected mayor Peter Davies described Councillor Eva Hughes’ claims as “outrageous”, also highlighting her purchase of a pair of ladies tights and “excessive hospitality” including a bill for £36 of Marks & Spencer biscuits in one day.

Mr Davies claimed expenses submitted by Coun Hughes, a Labour member, showed the role was a “piece of political self-indulgence the people of Doncaster can well do without”.

Expenses claims made by Coun Hughes, whose term of office ended in May, were laid bare after a change in the rules over allowances.

Previously, the ceremonial role attracted an allowance of £17,990, which was a “special responsibilty allowance” that also covered “incidental expenses” and the detail of claims by previous mayors was never made public.

The allowance was reduced in line with other councillors to £12,000 in April.

As part of the change expenses claimed by the civic mayor had to be claimed separately, in order to be “subject to scrutiny”.

The breakdown shows that between April 4 and May 13 Coun Hughes claimed £791.07 – including £10 for the collection plate at Doncaster Minster’s St George’s Day service and £9 of Aurora Fashion Show tickets.

She also claimed for clothes and shoes worth nearly £260 a month before her term of office ended.

Mr Davies, whose allowance is £48,000 a year, said the figures showed that, including office staff, the civic mayor cost Doncaster more than £150,000 last year.

He added: “Coming against the backdrop of increasingly vicious Government cuts, this only serves to reopen the debate as to whether Doncaster needs or can afford the whole panoply of a civic mayor.”

It is understood the civic mayor, Labour’s Coun Christine Mills, has not claimed expenses since she took over in May. Coun Hughes was unavailable for comment.