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Revealed: Mayor Andy Street racks up £20,000 expenses – and gets £12,000 in gifts

By Pete Madeley | Politics | Published: | Last Updated:

The West Midlands Mayor today insisted he is “upfront” about how much his office spends, after racking up expenses of £20,000 in his first 16 months in power.

Andy Street’s expenses included £7,500 on international flights, £5,000 on taxis and £2,500 on hotels, according to details published by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The Conservative mayor splashed out £1,500 in taxpayers' money on a hotel in the South of France for a property conference, and more than £3,000 on a visit to the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The mayor was also lavished with thousands of pounds worth of gifts between May 2017 and September 2018, including free trips to New York paid for by that city’s former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an executive box at Aston Villa, tickets to see the ballet and bottles of booze.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street

Mr Street’s expenses drew criticism from Labour MPs last year after it emerged he had spent £2,200 trip to Finland to see how Helsinki helps its homeless.

His total declared expenses were £20,056 for his first 16 months in the role.

In March he joined other business leaders and council bosses from the West Midlands at the MIPIM Property Investment Conference in France, with the mayor’s bill for the week coming to £2,868.

The following month he visited Australia’s Gold Coast on a fact-finding mission ahead of Birmingham’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2022, at a cost of £3,142 to the public purse.

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The mayor also spent £752.92 on flights to India for a Midlands Engine trade and investment trip in September.

Billionaire

Meanwhile, gifts and hospitality received by Mr Street totalled more than £12,000 over the period.

They include tickets costing £180 each to watch Villa play, Wasps rugby matches and an England cricket game in the ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston.

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He also received a £40 bottle of whisky from the Bangladesh High Commission, wine worth £75 from Walsall firm Homeserve and £50 in beer from Sadler’s Ales in Stourbridge.

His priciest gift came from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who shelled out nearly £6,000 on travel and hotels during his Mayors’ Programme events last July.

Mr Street said: “After being elected I promised to be upfront about meetings, gifts and expenses.

“While the first 18 months of the mayoralty has helped secure £1.7bn of investment, it is right and proper people know what is being spent and who I am meeting.”

Last year Mr Street unveiled plans to raise the council tax precept to fund the running of his office, but the move was rejected by Labour council leaders on the WMCA.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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