Expenses claims spark row over civic mayor

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A FORMER civic mayor has been criticised after making expenses claims to cover items including donations made in church collection plates and charity raffles.

Elected mayor Peter Davies is angry over Coun Eva Hughes’ claims, which also included a pair of ladies’ tights and a bill for £36 worth of Marks and Spencer biscuits in one day.

Mr Davies, an English Democrat who was elected Doncaster’s mayor in 2009, is in charge of the council and policy, while a civic mayor is appointed each year to act as a ceremonial figurehead.

He claimed he wants the civic role axed and said expenses submitted by Coun Hughes, showed the role was ‘political self-indulgence’.

Expenses claims made by Coun Hughes, whose term of office ended in May, were revealed after a change in the rules over allowances, enforced on April 1 this year, which brought in a system where the civic mayor has to submit individual expenses.

The figures showed 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.

She also claimed for clothes and shoes worth nearly £260 from shops including Marks and Spencer on April 18, exactly a month before her term of office ended.

Other claims were for £9 worth of raffle tickets at an Aurora Centre Fashion Show, and £10 in sponsorship for a sponsored toddle in Armthorpe.

Mr Davies said: “Claims for underwear, raffle tickets and, most scandalously, for reimbursement for donations to church collections, are utterly disgraceful. 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.”

Coun Hughes said by email that she had not seen the detail of Mr Davies’ criticism so was unavailable to 

A spokesman for Doncaster Council said its chief executive Jo Miller was not prepared to comment a ‘political issue’.