Swindon's mayor racks up £110,000 office expenditure bill in just 12 months

The mayor of Swindon’s expenses are under the spotlight after it was revealed his office expenditure totalled £110,000 in just 12 months.

Figures uncovered by the Swindon Advertiser show that £83,400 was spent on four personal staff for Mick Bray. He also received a £10,000 personal allowance and £15,000 was spent engraving mayoral chains. This comes at an important time. Only recently Swindon Council threatened elderly care and grass cutting budgets; both more worthy of £110,000 than the mayor's extravagant office. But the civic leader is adamantly unapologetic. He believes that no savings can be made in his budget due to the standards expected of him. He claimed that without an office he would not be able to function effectively in this role.

But is this true? There are many other mayors who don’t run expensive offices at a huge cost to taxpayers. The mayor of Doncaster slashed his own pay from £73,000 to £30,000 when came to office,  got rid of his limousine and cut the council's free newsletter.

The mayor of Royal Wooton Bassett also shows how an office can be run on a much smaller budget, although in a far smaller town than Swindon. The mayor enjoys an allowance of £3,200 through which he must manage all of his annual costs incurred by mayoral duties in his 400 functions per year (Swindon’s mayor is believed to participate in around 500). In Royal Wooton Basset’s mayor’s office, a volunteer occupies the role of town crier, mace bearer and sword bearer and when required an admin officer doubles as a secretary.

Clearly a mayor’s office can be run more efficiently than Swindon’s costly example. The mayor needs to look for more ways to rein in his budget because it clearly can and must be done.

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