Congleton: Ex-Mayor of Cheshire East donates allowance portion to foodbanks

  Posted: 08.10.21 at 19:06 by Belinda Ryan, Local Democracy Reporter & Alexander Greensmith

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Cheshire East’s former mayor has donated part of his allowance to charity and foodbanks after holding the post for two years.

For the first time, Cheshire East had the same mayor for two years because of the Covid pandemic.

Because the £14,000 payment made to the mayor is not included in the list of councillors’ allowances posted on the council’s website, the Local Democracy Reporting Service asked if the money had been paid for the second year.

A Cheshire East Council spokesperson said: “The mayor of the borough is entitled to claim a remuneration of £14,000 for their year in office.

“During the year 2019/2020, this was paid to the serving mayor, Cllr Barry Burkhill, in accordance with normal procedure.

“Cllr Burkhill agreed to continue as mayor for the year 2020/2021. Due to the pandemic, it was not possible to hold the annual special meeting of council when a new mayor would have been elected.

Aside his two-year premiership as Mayor, the Independent Group politician has represented Handforth since May 2011.

“Cllr Burkhill continued to chair council meetings via Teams/Zoom over the internet during that second period in office.

“He therefore claimed the standard remuneration of £14,000 for that second term.”

The spokesperson added: “The members’ scheme of allowances does not require the mayor’s remuneration to be included in the schedule of allowances for members as it is not considered to be a special responsibility under the Local Government Act 1972.”

“The council is extremely grateful to Cllr Burkhill for agreeing to continue in his role as mayor for a second term and to chair meetings of the council via the Internet during a very challenging period for the council.”

Cllr Burkhill (Handforth, Ind) said: “I would like to thank Cllr [Sam] Corcoran and the council for their kind words of support for me during a most difficult time for all of us to ensure Cheshire East Council, with members and officers together, continued to provide its services and its council meetings for the benefit of our residents.

Barry was first made Mayor on May 22 2019, and held the position until May this year.

“I have made a substantial donation from the allowance to the mayor’s charity, including the many foodbanks which we have visited.”

Congleton's best-known foodbank is at the Danesford Community Centre on West Road.

"As the number of foodbanks and need for them has been increasing, I chose our Cheshire East Foodbanks as the Mayor’s Charity," added the former borough Mayor.

"My wife [the Mayoress] and I managed to visit most of them before lockdown to support their work, all done by volunteers and it was a privilege to meet all those involved.

"Many Mayors, including myself, then remained in office for a second year, continuing our duty to pursue the business of Council in challenging circumstances with the unstinting assistance from our staff.

Cllr Sarah Pochin is Cheshire East's current Mayor.

"I have now distributed the Mayor’s Charity money, including a substantial donation from the Mayor’s Allowance, to the foodbanks."

The current Cheshire East Mayor for 2021-22 is Councillor Sarah Pochin, who represents Bunbury.

Her charities for this year are The Youth Fed, a Cheshire Charity for disadvantaged 16-24 year olds, and Hopes and Beams, a Crewe autism charity.

See Also: Congleton Café to become theatre as 'Girl in Isolation' play premieres this weekend.

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