Blyth Town Council blasted for spending £15,000 on mayoral chains amid cost of living crisis

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A town council’s decision to spend thousands of pounds on “civic regalia” for the deputy mayoress and her partner have been blasted by opposition councillors.

Blyth Town Council has agreed to spend £15,000 on chains of office for the unelected position. Four Conservative councillors, one Liberal Democrat and two Labour councillors voted against the plans, but the rest of the Labour-led council voted to approve the spending.

The move has attracted significant criticism from Northumberland Conservatives, as well as Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy.

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It was pointed out that Blyth Town Council has managed without chains for the deputy mayor for the last 13 years. And in the wake of the public backlash, the Mayor of Blyth Town Council, Warren Taylor, has suggested a rethink might be in order.

MP Ian Levy.MP Ian Levy.
MP Ian Levy.

Conservative MP Mr Levy said the decision, taken in the midst of a cost of living crisis, should be reversed and has set up a petition calling on the council to do so.

He said: “I am absolutely appalled by this decision and I’m calling on Blyth Town Council to see sense and reverse it as soon as possible. We are facing a cost-of-living crisis on the back of the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine, and it is astounding that the town council thinks this is a priority.

“I’ve set up a petition on my website so that residents of Blyth can let their town council know that they do want their money spent in this way – unbudgeted and benefiting only two people.”

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A spokesman for the Northumberland Conservative Party described the decision as “absolutely incredible,” adding: “We have been contacted by many local residents who have felt really let down by this waste of taxpayers money, especially at such a time.

“We are calling on Blyth Town Council to retract this decision as a matter of urgency.”

Coun Warren Taylor said Blyth was a “proud town, steeped in history and tradition”.

He added: “Our decision was made in good faith.

"However, we have listened to public opinion and concerns and I feel that as Mayor of Blyth Town Council, that the whole situation should now be re-examined.”