ON May 3 at the same time as voters across both Wakefield and Leeds are asked if they want an elected mayor, voters in Doncaster will be voting on whether to get rid of the position.
Why? Doncaster’s elected mayor has been a costly and disruptive failure. On a salary of £150,000 or more per annum, an elected mayor has wide ranging powers, including the ability to appoint individuals to senior positions within the mayor’s office and pay them what they like.
They can spend council taxpayers’ money on schemes and pet projects of their choice and in the case of Doncaster the elected mayor recently overturned attempts by local community groups and elected councillors to save a local library from closure.
The government has already forced council tax payers to cover the cost of a booklet sent out to every household extolling the virtues of an elected mayor.
A possible referendum later in the year will cost hundreds and thousands of pounds, a cost to be met by council taxpayers.
In times when the council is being forced to cut jobs, it doesn’t make sense to introduce a post which, with all the attendant costs, will cost local people an extra £1m over four years.
Let us learn from the experiences of Doncaster. An elected mayor won’t work, undermining local democracy by concentrating political power in the hands of one highly-paid individual.
I am urging voters to vote for option one on May 3 and against the attempts of the Westminster elite to foist an elected mayor upon us.
Former MP for Elmet