Business leaders debate plans for elected mayor

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BUSINESS leaders and heavyweight national politicians gathered in Sheffield for a debate about elected mayors - but the event was not attended by senior city councillors.

Those present included Greg Clark, Government minister for cities, former Labour minister Lord Adonis, Master Cutler Pat Liversidge, and chief executive of Sheffield Chamber, Richard Wright.

The only city council representative was Arbourthorne Labour councillor Jack Scott, advisor to leader Julie Dore, who spoke against mayors.

Mr Clark talked about the importance of having an elected figurehead when cities around the world are competing head-to-head for business.

He said: “Sheffield is up against the likes of Frankfurt, Bangalore and Beijing.

“Our vision is about how cities can be better led.”

Lord Adonis added: “Sheffield’s system is not broken but a mayor would bring more democratic leadership.”

Coun Scott argued in response: “Sheffield Council has a strong tradition of strong leaders. I fail to see how an elected mayor would help us make additional progress.”

Master Cutler Pat Liversidge voiced concerns about conflict between a mayor and council of different parties.

Mr Wright said he could see advantages of a regional mayor more so than a city post.

After the meeting, John Cawthorne, of Maynard Fulwood Limited, said: “I think it was an interesting event but people are being asked to decide too early - most people still do not know the full implications of the change.”

Mohammed Mahroof, of Mark Jenkinson property firm, added: “I’d have liked to have seen senior councillors present for the debate.”

Sheffield Chamber hosted the event at the offices of law firm Kennedy’s.