Skip to content

Conservative proposals on Elected Mayors

February 17, 2009

The Conservative Local Government Green Paper “Control Shift” published today includes proposals for referendums in the twelve largest cities after London to have a directly elected city-wide Mayor.  The cities are: Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Wakefield, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham, Newcastle upon Tyne.   There is little detail in the Green Paper.  It does clarify that the Mayor will cover the existing unitary authority area, rather than a ‘city region’ or other sub regional area.    

The proposals draw on the recommendations of Lord Heseltine’s Cities Taskforce which published a report in 2007 calling for more elected Mayors.  Heseltine, who incidentally will give the LGiU Annual Lecture on the 18th March, called for Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle to have a London style city goverment.  He then identified the other cities above as appropriate for an elected Mayor based in the existing local authority.  The point of my looking back at the Heseltine report is to answer a question a journalist put to me today around what kind of powers the Mayors would have.


Lord Heseltine proposed that City Executive Mayors would have these powers which are largely additional to the powers of current local authority Leaders/Mayors:

Conservative Cities Taskforce proposed powers of elected city Mayors
Conservative Cities Taskforce proposed powers of elected city Mayors

Taken with the proposals to abolish regional governance structures it would make sense for elected Mayors of large conurbations to have these powers.   Without going in to the pros and cons of the Mayors and regions debate, if we  are going to have the Mayors because the Conservatives will legislate for them, lets go for a model with enhanced powers, as a trojan horse for greater localism.  I would also add in powers around healthcare and skills, in addition to the current powers of local authorities.    Legislation is a blunt instrument though, the real potential power of these Mayors is the mandate they will hold and the influence and leverage they can wield to bring people to the table and hold public service providers to account.     I stress these are my own views, not those of the LGiU, whose 150 member local authorities will no doubt have very mixed opinions when we consult them before responding to the Green Paper.

The Cities Tasforce report is hear:  http://www.conservatives.com/pdf/CityLeadership.pdf
Advertisements
One Comment leave one →
  1. Maureen Alderson permalink
    February 17, 2009 5:05 pm

    I am always cautious when I hear talk of elected Mayors here “in the US Style” – don’t get me wrong, I think it is good model, if you are talking about Mayors with home rule, like New York and Chicago. However, it is important to understand that US Mayors benefit from a full seperation of powers. This means their Cabinet is made up often of professionals (although there are loads of examples of poitical contributors in the role) who serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. Not only does this provide opportunities for Health care experts overseeing Health , or similarly with Police Commissioners who serve subject to the Mayor but it also means that the Legislature or Council Members can hold the Mayor and his/her Cabinet to account in a way that doesn’t happen in the models suggested in the UK. It is a distinction worth considering,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: