The coalition’s attempt to unlock growth in cities has taken another step forward with Cities Minister Greg Clark announcing the date for the mayoral election.
In May 2010, the Coalition set out its commitment to create directly elected mayors in the 12 largest English cities outside London, subject to confirmatory referendums and full scrutiny by elected councillors.
Referendums will take place on 3 May 2012 in 11 cities – Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield. Leicester already has an elected Mayor. (Click any of the links to find a local surveyor)
Those cities that say ‘yes’ to electing a mayor, will be able to vote for their favourite candidate in elections on 15 November 2012.
Directly elected mayors mark another shift in the transfer of powers from central government back to communities, giving local people the power to decide what is best for their area. The Government believes that elected mayors can provide strong, democratically accountable leadership to maximise potential for economic growth and investment in cities.
Cities Minister Greg Clark said:
“Elected mayors provide cities with the strong, visible leadership that can help them prosper nationally and internationally. This is an opportunity for each city to transform itself for the better.
“The world’s great cities have mayors who lead for their city on the national and international stage, attracting investment and jobs. We believe that mayors can help English cities achieve their full potential too.
“This May, the people of our cities will have the chance to have their say. Now is the time to start weighing up what a mayor could do for your city.”
The legal foundation for the role of directly elected mayors is the Government’s Localism Act, which contains a wide range of decentralising measures. Mayors are expected to have a crucial role to play in shaping the on-going process of reform – negotiating with Ministers to specify and secure the specific powers that each community needs to prosper. For more information, see our article on the extension of bespoke city deals here.