So the planning minister Greg Clark and Lord Andrew Adonis have recently been extolling the virtues of having an elected mayor.
Well, here’s my response. Why do they need to waste public money doing this?
It is reported that Clark says for around 100 years power has been draining away from large cities and going to London. Why have politicians allowed it to happen? And, if every large city has a “high profile” supremo, doesn’t he realise they’ll still be vying with each other for central funds as they do now?
He infers that the existing arrangement with the leader of the council speaking for the authority cannot be just as effective, but without the additional cost. They can, I’ve seen it and it really comes down to strong personalities, well connected at Westminster. Think of Manchester and Sheffield, their influential MPs and central resources they’ve had pumped in compared to Leeds. Adonis apparently (YEP report) suggested it could cost less than the current council leader and chief executive arrangement – he cannot be serious.
The additional cost, I would guess will be at least £200k per annum extra. Finally, if a new elected mayor spends a lot of “Premiership League” (a Clarkism) time at Westminster rattling the Leeds bowl, who is going to take key local decisions back home and can’t the pair of them see that it’s likely to result in conflict over decisions and requests for more senior staff because of the mighty mayor’s demands and frequent away events? Vote to retain the existing arrangement and let’s hope we get a strong, well connected leader. Remember, an elected mayor is in for four years, dear oh dear.
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