South Yorkshire mayor election candidates 2022: who is standing in the election, and when is the vote?

South Yorkshire heads to the polls tomorrow to elect a new mayor – who will preside over many policy areas from transport, housing, active travel, skills and adult education.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 1:07 pm

Dan Jarvis is standing down to focus on his other role as MP for Barnsley Central.

The mayor won’t take away powers from respected councils but will work with leaders as part of their cabinet to affect wider change in South Yorkshire.

This could be from expanding the Supertram network, overhauling the way buses run and operate, providing new apprenticeships, investing in adult education and overseeing the installation of new cycle lanes.

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(From top left to bottom right) Bex Whyman, Green Party - Oliver Coppard, Labour - Joe Otten, Liberal Democrats - David Bettney, SDP - Simon Biltcliffe, Yorkshire Party - Clive Watkinson, Conservative Party.

They have a budget of £900 million over 30 years but the mayor will be able to raise money like other councils do through borrowing.

They could also implement a mayoral tax if they choose to do so but all candidates have said they would not do this.

They will also be a figurehead for the region and will spend a lot of time lobbying central government for extra investment in South Yorkshire.

There are six candidates who want the top job which pays around £84,000 a year.

Voters head to the polls on Thursday, May 5 – polls open at 7am and close at 10pm.

The full result is expected the following afternoon at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport (EIS).

Read below to see what the candidates have been saying in their own election pitch …

The full list of candidates are:

David Bettney – SDPSimon Biltcliffe – Yorkshire PartyOliver Coppard – LabourJoe Otten – Liberal DemocratsClive Watkinson – ConservativeBex Whyman – Green Party

David Bettney – Social Democratic Party (SDP)

“I want to bring my drive, passion and life-long experience as a businessman to help South Yorkshire achieve its full economic potential.

“The most important item on my agenda is the South Yorkshire economy. Once our economic strategy is in place we can develop the adult skills and transport links necessary for successful businesses and local demands.

“We can put long term, well paid manufacturing jobs in place and seriously start spending the money necessary to regenerate our much neglected small towns and villages as well as fund community projects.

“When the overall GDP of an area goes up it creates this trickle down effect — small businesses start to flourish, charities receive extra donations and a pride in the local area causes antisocial behaviour to drop.

“If elected I want to put my energies into building a more caring, prosperous, and forward-thinking South Yorkshire.

“South Yorkshire is a sleeping giant but together on May 5, we can wake up this giant and make South Yorkshire the design and production hub for the UK.

“If you don’t vote differently, nothing different will ever happen.”

Simon Biltcliffe – Yorkshire Party

“South Yorkshire needs a different kind of mayor – one without the baggage of being a career politician. I am the only serious choice on the ballot that doesn’t have a career in politics behind me.

“I want to be the most transparent mayor in the country, so I will not take a single penny in salary; I will instead donate it to the Samaritans.

“I will publish my expenses online monthly and will organise monthly sessions to hear views across South Yorkshire so that everyone is represented.

“I’ve built up a Barnsley-based company, employing 40 people and will use my proven experience in business to really take advantage of the unique opportunities South Yorkshire has.

“I will be a mayor for all of South Yorkshire. As a Barnsley lad myself, I know all too well how many conversations around our county’s future are viewed through Sheffield alone.

“With me at the helm I will ensure we take full advantage of a Green Energy Revolution, putting thousands of well paid, long term jobs back into South Yorkshire. This will go hand in hand with my plan to rebuild our high streets with local independent businesses.”

Oliver Coppard – Labour

“I was born and raised here and I’m proud to still call South Yorkshire my home. That’s why I care so much about our communities and our future, but also why – despite the challenges we face – I’m so excited about the possibilities in front of us.

“Because we have no shortage of potential; with two leading universities, businesses working at the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing and green technologies, world-class cultural assets, as well as heritage and landscapes that are the envy of the rest of the country.

“As mayor, I’m offering new ideas, a new approach and a different type of politics. That means bringing the buses back under public control, like Andy Burnham is doing in Manchester, a clean energy strategy for South Yorkshire, and a better economy, not just a bigger economy, with more good jobs in the industries of the future. And I’ll challenge the government to deliver on their promises to the north too.

“I’ve spent much of my life working to make our region stronger, fairer and greener, and I’m now asking for your support. Because together, we can rebuild the pride, purpose and prosperity of South Yorkshire.”

Joe Otten – Liberal Democrats

“South Yorkshire was one of the first places to get a devolution deal, but we have fallen behind other regions due to squabbling and infighting between Labour council leaders.

“After four wasted years with a Labour mayor, it is time for a change.

“Other regions have started using franchising powers to make buses more reliable, frequent and to introduce simpler tickets. We should too.

“Covid has changed the game, I will invest in better apprenticeships that help our young people learn a profession and those who lost jobs to learn a new skill.

“I will invest in the energy efficient homes we need, on brownfield sites to save on fuel bills, reduce carbon emissions and protect the Green Belt.

“Liberal Democrats in South Yorkshire work as a team and I have the ambition we need for better buses, warmer homes, and a stronger local economy.

“The current mayor has treated this crucial role as a part time job and it’s held our region back – I will be a full time mayor who listens to local people.”

Clive Watkinson – Conservative Party

“I want to be mayor so South Yorkshire can achieve its full potential and make the lives of everyone living and working here better.

“People in South Yorkshire have been taken for granted for too long – now it must change.

“I will be the best ambassador for South Yorkshire and bring new companies, new jobs and a new sense of pride.

“I will improve transport links, particularly with Manchester and the North West. I’ll create a recruitment hub linking employers with potential employees and ensure less bureaucracy and more action.

“I want to be mayor to shout about the world class businesses and world class people we have here and encourage more business and the Government to invest in us.

“South Yorkshire has proved it can vote Conservative with the three excellent MPs we have here. I will work with Miriam Cates, Nick Fletcher and Alexander Stafford and the Government to ensure we do the best we can for South Yorkshire.

“The impact mayors have made in Teesside and the West Midlands shows how effective a Conservative mayor can be.

“A vote for me on Thursday, May 5 will make your life and the whole of South Yorkshire better.”

Bex Whyman – Green Party

“Bringing buses back under public control leads to better services. I will push for the electrification of main lines and for more funding for regional rail services. I will also ensure new infrastructure for safe walking and cycling is provided.

“A Green mayor can be counted on to put our environment first. I will protect our precious green spaces by pushing for the redevelopment of brownfield sites first. Our environment will be at the heart of every decision made in our region.

“There are homes across South Yorkshire standing empty, when they could be warm, affordable places to live. Refurbishing old homes and creating new homes, in the right place, would provide quality jobs for a green future.

“Investment in green transport and housing will provide a massive increase in new types of jobs and skills. To develop training and skills, I will provide new apprenticeships.

Residents are crying out for people they can trust who will stand up for what is right and I am ready to serve you and our region as your Green mayor.”