Mayoral misgivings

I wonder if like me, you have misgivings about the proposal that is about to come before Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to approve the creation of a Sheffield City Region Mayor, or if you even realised a Sheffield Mayor would govern Rotherham also.

I have to admit to having reservations about the idea of directly elected Mayors in the first place, as it places enormous power in the hands of single individual instead of dispersing power among a group of equals.

But unfortunately this particular proposal is the worst of all worlds, because unlike the London Mayor who has a directly elected assembly, (elected by proportional representation, ensuring all political parties in the capital have a voice in scrutinising the mayor) the Sheffield Region will have no such body, but instead will have a panel of the leaders of the nine local council authorities of the region, to supposedly scrutinise the Mayor.

The problem with this is that of those nine local authorities, (i.e. Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Bolsover and Bassetlaw) eight of them are run by the Labour Party, so along with having an almost certain Labour Mayor, 8 of the 9 people who would be scrutinising the Mayor’s decisions would also be Labour, so again we have Labour scrutinising Labour, what could possibly go wrong?

What’s even more astonishing though is that of those nine local authorities, only the people of four South Yorkshire towns will get to vote for this Mayor, the other five areas are classed as non-constituent authorities.

These five areas while not being able to vote for a Sheffield Mayor will still get to set the priorities of the Sheffield Mayor. Have you ever heard of something so bizarre? Furthermore, I understand the citizens of Chesterfield will get a vote for a Nottingham City Region Mayor! What’s that all about?

Not surprisingly our local council leaders are all in favour of this deal as it will give Labour untrammeled power despite the fact that the only independent consultation of the plan was undertaken by Sheffield Citizens Assembly, who looked in great detail at the proposals but rejected them by 2 to 1 and instead vote by 77% to 19% in favour of a Yorkshire Regional Assembly (like the Welsh Parliament).

The Government tell us that if we reject a Sheffield City Region Mayor that we are rejecting devolution, just like they told that if we rejected the Alternative Vote Referendum we were rejecting voting reform.

The Government instead of offering a menu of possible devolution deals, offer us a single awful deal and tell us that if we don’t accept it we don’t want devolution. So why apart from the obvious offer of power do our local council leaders recommend this deal ? (from a partisan Tory Chancellor)

The council leaders argue we’ll get £30 million a year for the next 30 years, but the government are cutting far more than £30 million a year from the local authorities of the region, clearly the Governments interest here is to turn round and blame the Region for all the cuts and the local Labour Party are falling for this rubbish.

What in the effect the Government is saying here is “I’ll give you a tenner a year to accept this deal” while taking a hundred pound a year out of our back pocket.

So, having looked at this deal myself and being a fairly engaged citizen I went online to find out when the consultation opens only to find to my disbelief that the consultation closed on 15th January.

How many of the 2.5 million people this affects even knew of the consultation?

So there we have it folks, in the best traditions of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, they whisper that there’s a consultation, then they announce that no one has any objections to the proposal!


13 thoughts on “Mayoral misgivings

  1. Skywalker,
    The Local Government Chronicle – an on-line free-sheet has been excellent on reporting the progress of, and commenting all this. ( ) – you have to sign-up for it, but that is all.

    Whilst it might seem that:
    ” the London Mayor […] has a directly elected assembly, (elected by proportional representation, ensuring all political parties in the capital have a voice in scrutinising the mayor) ”
    in practice it’s 25 members can do little – with the current assembly you would need both Tories and Labour to agree to reject Boris’s proposals.
    That’s how we ended up with this fail:
    and having to fight Boris and Joanna Lumley’s Garden Bridge scheme.
    and many other articles on the same site and elsewhere.
    It’s not often that The Architects Journal gets so angry about things!

    … and yes
    “What’s even more astonishing though is that of those nine local authorities, only the people of four South Yorkshire towns will get to vote for this Mayor, the other five areas are classed as non-constituent authorities.”
    It is totally absurd.

    This is what was signed

    Click to access Sheffield_devolution_deal_October_2015_with_signatures.pdf


  2. Can you just imagine, another fat, lying, greedy piece of political scum like Roger Stone being given even more power to line their own pocket with even more of our money.
    Yes, we could vote them out in May if we lived in a democracy where vote rigging isn’t rife, but unfortunately we live in a totalitarian Labour state called South Yorkshire where local government has been corrupted beyond comprehension because of the tribal voting and third world infiltration.


  3. Not happy that Dinnington and Anston come under Rotherham borough, none of us voted to be controlled by either Rotherham or Sheffield.


  4. Why is it necessary to have more layers of local government which will be more of a drain on public finances, as far as scrutiny goes I can from personal experience say that it is useless I put myself forward to join a scrutinies panel which would carry out supposed scrutiny of RMBC we were told if given certain documents to read certain passages could not be discussed in public which I accepted. Then came the crunch the lady explaining the process said in 9 out of 10 cases the COUNCIL had already made their minds up so if this is the case what was the point of a scrutinies panel pointing out something that may be more beneficial if the COUNCIL would take no notice it is still the same with RMBC who do NOT have the people of the borough in their thoughts at anytime


  5. A Mayor for Sheffield will in effect overlap Rotherham.

    In case people of Rotherham think that at present you in some way are not anything to do with Sheffield or south Yorkshire.

    you’ll still be paying for the Sheffield tram through your council tax for many years to come.

    Your held to ransom by Sheffield for improving infrastructure this side of the M1 (Orgreave Catcliffe Thorphesley etc).

    For many years to come you as local people will be paying for the scrapped student games legacy.

    Why would someone living in Rotherham care where Sheffield has an indoor market (Moor), cause you made the deal possible.

    Don’t laugh too hard Mr Doncaster And Mr Barnsley your paying for all this aswell.

    Every time Sheffield has f###edup the rest of South Yorkshire picks up the pieces, knowingly or unknowingly.

    Even without a Sheffield Mayor you come under Sheffield, and not independently under South Yorkshire.


  6. @rr.

    Governance. Para 2. ‘There is no intention to take existing powers from local
    authorities without agreement’ . Whose agreement? Council or residents?
    Skills (19+) Para 10 (c) ‘ A funding formula for calculating the size of the grant to local / combined authorities will need to take into account a range of demographic, educational and labour market factors.’ These are not IMV satisfactory parameters. My interpretations of that paragraph are you get more money if your area is low skilled and poorly educated -or-you get less money for the same reasons?
    Housing and Planning. Para.21 (a) ‘all Local Development Plans will be in strategic alignment’
    Meaning what? That SCR can overide the wishes of residents and RMBC not to build on more greenbelt land?.
    I have several more questions but I don’t want to clog the board with a long list.

    There is nothing in this document about protecting jobs at Forgemasters or any other local jobs, nothing about creating/developing a Sheffield/Rotherham based supply chain.
    Its MO. seems to be another layer of highly paid bods to ladle out more of our money as they seem fit.
    I am not impressed.


    • I read with interest what Colin and hotspot have to say I for one and am sure many others never knew we paid towards supertram this is totally wrong but no matter what a Labour council does RR will always condone anything they do I thank you for the link to the text Colin


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