The Lord Mayor of York is set to lose his Mansion House home as part of budget cuts by cash-strapped council chiefs.

Other savings will see the Lord Mayor - a role currently held by Cllr Chris Cullwick - having to rely more on public transport rather than using the civic car. 

City of York Council's Labour administration is proposing the cutbacks as it attempts to plug a £40 million funding black hole over the next four years.

But one former Lord Mayor today described the move as "appalling", claiming it "devalued" York's long history of civic pride.

Council papers reveal the recommendations ahead of a council decision session by executive member for finance, Cllr Katie Lomas, on February 21.

The suggested cutbacks include:

  • Reducing the civic budget by a minimum of £10,000 for 2024/25
  • The Lord Mayor and Sheriff's personal allowances to be reduced by a total of £5,000
  • Decreased use of the Mayor's car, including for home to city centre visits
  • Increased use of public transport and wearing "badges of office" - understood to be more informal regalia
  • Reduced use of the ceremonial sword, mace, robes and chains for events
  • The Mayor's flat within the Mansion House will no longer be available as living accommodation 
  • The council will fund the Mayor's attendance at some agreed events, but others will be funded by the Mayor personally.

The report says York's Lord Mayor is second only to the Lord Mayor of London in precedence, and the council review will "ensure that the Lord Mayor can continue to act as an ambassador for the city as its first citizen".

But former Conservative Lord Mayor, Ian Gillies, who held the post in 2014, slammed the decision.

York Press: Former Lord Mayor Ian Gillies, with former Lady Mayoress Patricia GilliesFormer Lord Mayor Ian Gillies, with former Lady Mayoress Patricia Gillies (Image: Frank Dwyer)

He said: "It's absolutely appalling. York has a long history of civic pride and it's being devalued.

"The civic party is something that should be treasured. It's crazy they want to cut money to the Lord Mayoralty but they'll spend millions on putting bollards in."



He added: "The Lord Mayor does not cost the city a lot of money compared to what it brings in."

The current Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Chris Cullwick, told The Press: "The proposed changes to the way the Lord Mayor’s office will operate are concerning. 

"The reduction in support for the Lord Mayor and civic party's attendance at events combined with cuts to the allowances the civic party will receive appear to take us back to a time when only those who were independently wealthy could take on these responsibilities.  

York Press: Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Chris CullwickLord Mayor of York, Cllr Chris Cullwick (Image: Newsquest)

"This year the civic party has worked tirelessly with two local charities to raise tens of thousands of pounds for causes that are close to our hearts.

"For the council administration to mandate that all future Lord Mayors cannot raise money for such causes is a real blow for York’s charities and voluntary sector.

"The current civic party were not consulted on these changes before they were published. There has been no public consultation, nor has the administration consulted with York’s schools, businesses or voluntary sector."

Liberal Democrat councillor, Ashley Mason, a former Sheriff, said: "Everyone knows the difficult financial position the council is in.

"However, the savings in the civic budget are less than 0.1 per cent of the total savings this year.

"The council’s finance chief should be focusing on ways to save our libraries and the numerous voluntary sector contracts they are cutting rather than spending ample time on ideological attacks on the civic institutions that saves the council nothing."

York Press: Cllr Katie Lomas, Executive member for finance, performance, major projects and equalitiesCllr Katie Lomas, Executive member for finance, performance, major projects and equalities (Image: Newsquest)

The council's executive member for finance, Cllr Katie Lomas, said: "This report contains a number of common sense measures to bring the civic office up to date and ensure its budget reflects the financial realities the Conservative government is inflicting on local councils up and down the country.

"The Lord Mayor and Sheriff will still be able to operate in a way befitting of civic heads of our city but the amount of budget allocated for hospitality and entertaining will have to fall.

"We think residents will expect all areas of council spend to play their part in responding to the real terms decline in funding the council has been experiencing for years, especially in discretionary service areas like this one."