The budget of York's Lord Mayor and Civic Party will be slashed - despite fears the move could return the city "to medieval times".

City of York Council hosted a decision session on its "civic protocols review" today (Wednesday, February 21), at its West Offices.

The cuts, which were given the go-ahead, will include a reduction in the Lord Mayor and Sherriff's personal allowances, less use of regalia and ceremonial items, reduced use of the mayor's car and axing the mayor's Mansion House accommodation. 

But former Lord Mayor of York, Dave Taylor, former Sherriff, Cllr Ashley Mason and current Lord Mayor, Cllr Chris Cullwick, were among those who spoke out against the proposals at the decision session.

York Press: Former Sherriff, Cllr Ashley Mason (centre right) with current Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Chris CullwickFormer Sherriff, Cllr Ashley Mason (centre right) with current Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Chris Cullwick (Image: The Press)

Cllr Mason said: "It seems the Mayor of Filey will now have a greater allowance than the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of York!

"You seem to be setting up a Lord Mayorality for the wealthy and retired.

"On three occasions as Sheriff my personal safety was placed at risk, one where the police had to be called. The report made no mention of personal safety."

Dave Taylor, who served as Lord Mayor from 2016-2017, said: "I sympathise with you (the council) on the financial position the city is in after years of austerity.

"However, these proposals are misguided and will harm the city’s reputation and our sense of civic pride.

York Press: Former Lord Mayor of York, Dave TaylorFormer Lord Mayor of York, Dave Taylor (Image: Newsquest)

"I had to give up my job for a year as I was busy seven days a week on ‘mayoral business’, occasionally attending five engagements in a single day. 

"I could afford to do that as I had no mortgage, no rent to pay, no children to support.  Not everyone is in such a situation.

"We raised over £50,000, and I am sure that if I’d had access to the Mansion House then it would have raised more money

"I fear these proposals will return us to medieval times when only wealthy individuals could afford to be Lord Mayor."

The current Lord Mayor, Cllr Chris Cullwick, condemned the lack of consultation in the drawing up of the proposals. 


He said: "I think the sensible and pragmatic decision would be to defer this decision, and allow appropriate opportunity for consultation and representation.

"This was produced with zero consultation, no consultation with the civic party nor any who have served in the past.

"This is a serious oversight.

"I would welcome a report that was consulted meaningfully, this is not that report."

City of York Council's leader, Cllr Claire Douglas, told the meeting: "I would like to reiterate the absolute importance of this role, the Lord Mayor and the Civic Party to the city.

"I do need to stress to you all, that austerity does mean that there’s a £40 million gap in funding to the council.

"Unfortunately, there is no element of the city that’s not affected by this, there’s no resident and service that isn’t affected by this.

"It is hard times, everybody’s feeling it."

The changes to civic protocols are set to be reviewed by the council by May 1, every year.