Yorkshire mayor

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I agree with Richard Wright, head of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, that the proposal for an elected mayor for the whole of Yorkshire is completely unacceptable.

It should be fought tooth and nail by everyone with the interests of Sheffield at heart.

Sheffielders might be proud of being from Yorkshire, but that doesn’t mean that our interests are the same as those who live in the Yorkshire Dales or on the Humber estuary.

Regions are artificial constructs, beloved of politicians, bureaucrats and the BBC.

The latter is exemplified by Look North, which succeeds in alienating as many viewers as it attracts, or Radio Sheffield when it joins its sister stations and ceases to have any connection with its listeners.

Let Sir Steve Houghton throw Barnsley’s lot in with Leeds if he wants to but I don’t think that Sheffielders should be dictated to by the leader of a council representing fewer than 100,000 souls.

Houghton and his council’s real attitude to its South Yorkshire neighbours was exposed by their recent mean-spirited ban on non-Barnsley ratepayers using their recycling facilities.

The Star reported last week on the fight to stop 500 HMRC jobs being transferred to Leeds.

No one should be under any illusion that a Yorkshire mayor would be based anywhere but Leeds, just as regional offices of Government departments always have been in the past.

We should also recall that the people of Sheffield (or at least those who bothered to vote) rejected the proposals for a local mayor.

Councillors now want to ignore that vote in order to access increased Government funding.

I have no issue with their wish to protect local services, but it should not be at the cost of selling out to our West Yorkshire rivals.

Paul Kenny

S3