Peterborough metro mayor hits back at Private Eye ‘inaccuracies’ over spending on ball

Peterborough’s metro mayor has hit back at “inaccuracies” in a report from Private Eye.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 8:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:58 pm
Mayor James Palmer

The satirical magazine has kept the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority in the spotlight in recent editions over its spending, but its latest article has drawn the ire of Mayor James Palmer, the combined authority’s leader.

Private Eye stated that the mayor’s inaugural ball raised £12,000 for PTSD999 - a Cambridge-based “social enterprise run entirely by volunteers” that supports emergency services workers past and present who are suffering from post-traumatic stress.

However, it claimed that the ball at Ely Cathedral had been funded by taxpayers to the tune of £16,144.

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These figures have now been refuted by Mayor Palmer. In a lengthy statement released to the media, he said: “I wish to address some inaccuracies reported in Private Eye, dated January 25. Unfortunately I was not given the opportunity of response before publication.

“I want to make clear that the Mayor’s Ball was self-financing and there was no cost to the taxpayer. Although there were understandably costs associated with hosting the ball which appear on the combined authority spending data, these costs were reimbursed through ticket sales and other fundraising activities such as auctions on the night and a raffle.

“The net result was a substantial surplus of £9,385.67 generated for chosen cause PTSD999. In addition to this, as a result of the ball, an additional £1,600 was raised for PTSD999, but was paid directly to them.

“It was always the intention that the ball would be self-financing and, given that this was an inaugural event, I was delighted with the outcome. PTSD999 is Cambridge-based and supports emergency services workers past and present who are suffering from post-traumatic stress.

“PTSD999 is being contacted by up to 30 people per day seeking help, including those affected by incidents such as the London Bridge terror attack, Manchester bombing and Grenfell Tower fire. One of the other positive outcomes from the ball was increased awareness that this service both exists and needs support.

“It is the intention to host another Mayor’s Ball this year, for a different cause, which will again be self-financing and hopefully build on the success of the 2018 event.”

Mayor Palmer has also released a breakdown of the ball’s finances:

Auction - £3,221

Silent Auction - £1,540

Tables (NET) - £17,920

Reimbursement of Transport - £85

Raffle - £1,860

Heads & Tails - £1,334

Total: £25,960

Event Costs (NET) - £16,574.33

Total raised for PTSD999 - £9,385.67