West Midlands Mayor claimed £31,000 expenses in first term

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street claimed more than £31,000 in expenses for his first term in office – with taxi and train costs coming top.

Headshot of West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.
Headshot of West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.

The Conservative Mayor’s office has said his accounts are “the definition of value for money” and have pointed to investment the mayor has attracted for the region.

The cost of expenses spread over the first four-year term equalled more than £7,700 per year – much lower than the average amount claimed by members of Parliament on expenses and allowances at £157,747 per MP.

But the amount is higher than that claimed by any Birmingham City Councillor for travel last year – with council leader Councillor Ian Ward coming top among councillors at £355.

Of the total for Mr Street, more than £8,800 was spent on taxis for the four years while more than £8,400 was spent on trains, more than £8,000 for flights and £4,100 on hotels.

The figures are routinely published by the West Midlands Combined Authority and cover the period from when he was first elected in May 2017 to December of last year.

Another update to cover the latest period is due by the end of July this year, the authority has said.

The biggest single item claimed for was £2,800.95 for flights to the Gold Coast, Australia, for a Commonwealth Games visit in April 2018, while £341 was spent on a hotel.

Destinations

The mayor claimed for flights eight times, with destinations including Toronto, Helsinki, France and India – but not once for air travel in the last two years.

Mr Street’s gifts totalled more than £16,300 for the same period, with the biggest single item consisting of travel to the Bloomberg New York Mayors’ Programme in July 2018, at a cost of £5525.71.

He was also gifted a hotel stay worth £810.38 for the same event, having previously attended the Bloomberg Paris Mayors’ Programme in October 2017.

A spokesman for the mayor said: “During his first four-year term the Mayor brought in more than £3.5 billion of new investment, built a record number of homes on brownfield land, oversaw huge investment in outdated transport infrastructure, and began closing the skills gap to give people access to better jobs.

“He achieved all of this whilst keeping expenses low and not charging residents a new levy on their council tax. That is the definition of value for money, and he will continue to stick with his low-cost approach.”

Mr Street had the fourth highest salary among the metro mayors in 2019, at £79,000 – below Greater London Mayor Sadiq Khan (£152,734), Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham (£110,000) and Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotherham (£89,000).

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