Clive Betts MP [Sheffield South East] has attacked the ConDem Government proposal to impose a Mayor on Sheffield without them being directly elected and without local people having a say.
Local Government Minister, Bob Neill, confirmed last week that mayors would be created in 12 cities, including Sheffield, with “a vote held at a later date to ask whether local people wanted to stick with the arrangement that their council would be led by a Mayor” who had not even been directly elected.
Bob Neill said the Government will simply make existing council leaders into mayors. There would not be a referendum first as to whether local people even wanted a change to a Mayor leading the City Council, rather than a council leader as at present.
Clive Betts said
"This news will astound anyone who has heard Eric Pickles expounding the virtues of localism. It is now quite clear that his version of localism is ‘local people implementing what Mr Pickles has decided.’
The last Labour government gave local people the ability to choose whether they wanted a Directly-Elected Mayor or a Leader and Cabinet model for their local council.
In Sheffield recently, after wide consultation, it was shown that there was little support for a change to the Directly-elected Mayor model. It is astonishing arrogance for this ConDem government to now go on and impose this arrangement, flying in the face of the expressed views of Sheffield people.
It shows that Mr Pickles just doesn't trust local people to take decisions for their own areas.”
Clive Betts, who is also Chairman of the House of Commons’ Select Committee on Communities and Local Government, continued:
“In some places – like Hackney, Lewisham and Newham – the Mayoral model has proved highly successful because of the calibre of the Mayors who have been elected.
In other places – like Doncaster – independent evaluation has shown that the Mayor is simply not up to the job.
The Select Committee will be examining all aspects of the Localism agenda..”