Sheffield Mayor could have ‘too much power’

Unison members protest against the elected mayor proposal for Sheffield
Unison members protest against the elected mayor proposal for Sheffield
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TRADE unionists have officially launched the ‘no’ campaign against plans for an elected mayor in Sheffield – as city councillors also approved a motion against the idea.

Meanwhile, business leaders asked the Government for more information on what sort of powers the post would receive.

Campaigners urging people to vote against creating an elected mayor at the May 3 referendum gathered for their launch outside the Town Hall, showing off posters with the slogan ‘Nightmayor’.

Chris Jenkinson, Sheffield-based regional organiser for Unison, said: “The idea is being imposed on Sheffield by a Tory-led Government when there is no public demand. The referendum will cost £250,000 and, if an elected mayor is approved, we could end up with a very expensive office having to be paid from existing council funds at the expense of services.

“Some elected mayors elsewhere are being paid salaries of up to £100,000. Then there is the cost of running an office and dedicated staff, plus a deputy mayor’s salary. It could come to £400,000 a year.

“And an elected mayor would see too much power in the hands of one person.”

Mr Jenkinson said the referendum was a ‘distraction from the real issues’ of cuts and economic problems.

City councillors also passed a motion opposing an elected mayor for Sheffield with cross-party support from Labour and Lib Dems in yesterday’s full council meeting.

Labour Coun Joan Barton, who wrote the motion, said: “Strong leadership is already provided at the city council.”

n Business leaders at Sheffield Chamber said they need more information before deciding whether to support or oppose the idea of an elected mayor.

President Suzanne Liversidge said: “Members and the wider business community need to debate the proposal in detail and to ensure we can reach a decision which will benefit our business community. I have discussed this with the Prime Minister directly and have agreed to facilitate a debate to ensure we have the facts to allow an informed decision.”