York’s business leaders have slammed cuts to the funding and role of the Lord Mayor of York by the city council.

It’s ruling Labour group made the move this week as part of its efforts to save £14million but business groups say harming the mayoralty will damage the city’s economy.

The changes, which would save £10,000, would see cuts to the personal allowances of the Lord Mayor and Sheriff, with less use of the mayor’s car and regalia and the axing of the mayor’s Mansion House accommodation.

But business leaders say this will harm visitor numbers and its tourism and hospitality sector, which is already reeling from the cost-of-living crisis.


Andrew Pericleous, chair of York and North Yorkshire Chamber’s Hospitality Forum’s is ‘deeply concerned’ over Labour’s plans, and believes they have “the potential to significantly impact our city's tourism, local community engagement and educational outreach.”

Mr Pericleous explained: “York's allure as a tourist destination is deeply intertwined with its rich history and vibrant culture, both of which are proudly represented by the Lord Mayor, who serves as a symbol of York's heritage and hospitality. Diminishing their role risks diluting the essence of our city, potentially deterring tourists and impacting the hospitality sector that relies on their presence to attract visitors.

“The Lord Mayor’s presence at local events, celebrations, and charitable initiatives brings people together and strengthens the bonds within our community. “

“The Lord Mayor's involvement in schools is instrumental in inspiring and educating the next generation of leaders. Scaling back the Lord Mayor's role in schools deprives students of valuable insights and experiences that contribute to their personal and academic development.

“Finally, York's identity is shaped by its traditions, institutions, and the people who represent it. The Lord Mayor embodies the spirit of our city and upholds its values through their actions and engagements. Any reduction in the Lord Mayor's roles and duties risks eroding the very essence of what makes York special, jeopardising its reputation as a welcoming and culturally rich destination.”

The owner of Mr Chippy says the hospitality sector has a responsibility to protect the city’s heritage and identity and called for it to “stand united in our commitment to protecting York's heart and soul.”

York Press:

Adam Wardale, Chair of the Hospitality Association York, agreed Labour’s proposals would harm the city’s identity and harm the charities the Civic Party fundraise for.

“York’s heritage and traditions are a major draw for international visitors, in today’s competitive world for inbound tourism, our history is a major strength and alongside our historic buildings, The Civic Party and Lord Mayor are a key part of that.”

Mr Wardale, who is General Manager of Middleton’s Hotel, accepted council budgets are under pressure, but added the decision should be deferred to allow for consultation.

York Press:

York BID executive director Andrew Lowson recalled the public support he saw the civic party receive at the recent Chinese New Year celebrations in the Mansion House.

He said: “The Mayor and Sheriff bring attention to minority communities, charities, schools, businesses and of course our cultural offer.  

“I cannot think of any Councillor or Council Officer who does a role like this so publicly.  The big picture needs to be recognised with this decision.”

Executive Member for Finance, Cllr Katie Lomas said in response: “The changes being proposed are proportionate, will have limited impact and won’t prevent our Lord Mayor and Sheriff doing the vast majority of what they currently do as civic heads of our city, including attending events with all the groups claimed to be at risk of losing civic attendance.  

"For this reason I believe the fears being expressed are overstated. We believe modest changes to the civic budget are what the residents of York would expect, especially given the impact of Government funding reductions on all other council services and given the expectations we are making of residents through their council tax”.

City of York Council has also confirmed the Lord Mayor will continue to choose their own charities. York Community Fund is merely a holding and distributing account for funds raised.

The Mansion House will continue to be used as a base for the Lord Mayor and Sheriff, and to host events from. The only change with use of the building is Lord Mayors no longer living in the flat.