An elected mayor can change things for the better, Cities Minister tells Sheffield voters

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THE ceremonial role of Sheffield’s Lord Mayor costs the taxpayer an average of £558 a day. In May, Sheffielders go to the polls to decide whether an elected mayor should be introduced as well to lead the council.

In an exclusive letter, Cities Minister Greg Clark puts the case for elected mayors and we go onto the streets to ask what you think.

“I WAS delighted to sign an order which will give residents here in Sheffield the chance to put a directly-elected mayor at the helm.

“People putting pen to ballot paper voters here, and those in the nine other cities, hold the power to bring in a new politics on Thursday, May 3.

“Why is this such a great opportunity?

“Firstly, these mayors will be able to change things for the better.

“They are not ceremonial appointments. They are proactive, democratic figures, with a clear mandate from the electorate: to lead the council, attract investment, represent the city and fight for the interesets of the city of Sheffield.

“Just look at London: the capital has transformed since it has elected its own mayor.

“And that’s the sort of leadership you could have right here.

“Secondly, a directly-elected mayor will make politics answer to you, not the other way around.

“Too often, people feel their communities are controlled by people a long way from them.

“But internationally, in the great cities which are led by directly-elected mayors, things are different.

“If people want something to happen they know who to go to. If something goes wrong they know who is accountable for that.

“If someone needs to speak up for the city, they can rely on the mayor they have elected.

“The buck stops with the mayor – plus, if you don’t like them, you can vote them out.

“It’s all part of this Government’s belief that the right decisions are more likely to be made in the Town Hall rather than Whitehall.

“Thirdly, a directly-elected mayor will energise politics in the city.

“The cities with mayors have real debates about their future, they have high profile campaigns, all with the aim of achieving better services, a better environment and a stronger economy.

“After all, everyone who lives here knows Sheffield’s needs and aspirations are different to those of other cities.

“That is why this role attracts someone who knows their patch, who fights their corner, batting for Sheffield on a national and international level.

“I believe the benefits of this system are clear.

“But the choice is now yours. You will have the opportunity on May 3 to vote on how your city is governed.

“Whatever you decide, please use that vote and have your say.”

HERE’S WHAT SOME OF OUR READERS SAID:

* Di Knowles, 61, Crookes, said:

“I’m concerned that people will just vote for a personality rather than the person who may really be the best for the job.”

“Councillors who currently appoint the mayor at least know the strengths or weaknesses of the person who’s given the job.

“But I will be keen to hear the arguments on both sides before I make my decision in May.”

* Carol Brown, 68, Hackenthorpe, said:

“I think it is a good idea, it will be something different for the city and will shake things up.”

Chris Tate, 53, Darnall, said:

“Personality could be a decider in an election – and we certainly don’t want another Boris Johnson-type in charge of Sheffield.”

* Helen Christie-Gibbens, 43, of Hillsborough, said:

“I will need to get myself better informed so I can really make up my mind.”

Now have your say - leave a comment below or email us at thestar.co.uk

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