Peterborough’s metro mayor ‘ashamed’ of people who have questioned his fundraising for good cause

Peterborough’s metro mayor says he is “ashamed” of people who have questioned his fundraising for a good cause.

Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 3:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:55 pm
Mayor James Palmer

James Palmer, leader of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, was the subject of an article from Private Eye about his inaugural ball.

The satirical magazine stated that the ball at Ely Cathedral had received £16,100 of funding from taxpayers.

Mayor Palmer responded by stating that the ball cost £16,500 but raised £25,960, meaning taxpayers were reimbursed. He said it netted a donation of more than £9,000 to PTSD999, a Cambridge-based “social enterprise run entirely by volunteers” which supports emergency service workers past and present who are suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder.

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In addition to this, as a result of the ball, an additional £1,600 was raised for PTSD999, but was paid directly to them.

Speaking at today’s combined authority board meeting, Mayor Palmer said: “I am ashamed that the people of Cambridgeshire have questioned the way in which I have raised this money.”

He added that he was “shocked and disgusted by the scrutiny my charity work has received in the press in recent days”.

After the Private Eye article the mayor’s office published full accounts for the event.

Moreover, on Monday the combined authority’s overview and scrutiny committee called for a report from the authority’s monitoring officer on the expenditure of the ball.

Responding to questions Patrick Arran, interim legal counsel and monitoring officer, said he is “not aware” of any reason the money should not have been used in this way, but said he would look into the rules to make sure.

Mr Arran said: “I am not aware of any specific prohibition of an event like this, but I will have to look at it.

“There was a net figure which led to a payment being made to a group (PTSD999) at no public cost.”

Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, chairwoman of the committee, said: “I would like to see the scrutiny committee ask for a report from the monitoring officer on the use of public funds. We will have to report back on this.”