Sheffield councillor Ben Curran has joined the race to become the first mayor of South Yorkshire.
The cabinet member for planning and development is up against former Sheffield MP and sports minister Richard Caborn, and an unknown number of others, for the Labour party nomination.
The deadline was 5pm on Thursday January 25. It is understood the party will reveal its candidate on March 23, elections for a ‘metro mayor’ are on Thursday May 3.
Coun Curran has been a member of Sheffield City Council since 2010. Before planning, he was cabinet member for finance, in which he says he steered the city council through ‘challenging central government budget cuts while maintaining frontline services’.
Aged 35, he is married with three children and lives in the Hillsborough area. He has spent most of his career working as a trade union lawyer.
He said: “South Yorkshire paid a heavy price in the 1980s because we lacked political clout. The Thatcher Government showed its wilful disregard towards this part of the country riding roughshod over us. Over the past decade, we have again suffered because of Conservative indifference - with austerity destroying our local public services.
“From Pitsmoor to Edlington, from Maltby to Grimethorpe, people are struggling. For too long politicians haven’t spent the time to understand South Yorkshire and its people. Devolution is our chance to change that.”
He added: “We need to do more than bring high value jobs to the city. That’s only the starting point. As Mayor, I will seek to unlock the enormous potential of our people to build an economy that works for South Yorkshire. I will engage as many local people as I can to understand their ambitions and the barriers they face to reach their potential and work to remove them so their dreams can be fulfilled.”
He led Sheffield City Council’s efforts to see more people paid the Foundation Living Wage, ensuring local business are included in local tendering processes. He is also leading an award-winning programme to ensure eyesore sites are developed.
He added: “We must bury the legacy of Thatcherism once and for all. We must ensure right mix of jobs, skills, houses, transport links and infrastructure that delivers social justice and economic opportunity to help people fulfil their dreams.”