Government to pay for mayor cost?

Local elections. May 2008.'Graham Stokes. Labour. Knottingley.'w3843c819
Local elections. May 2008.'Graham Stokes. Labour. Knottingley.'w3843c819

PLANS to appoint an elected mayor in Wakefield should be paid for by government, claim council chiefs.

Coun Graham Stokes, cabinet member responsible for democratic services, said it was unfair to expect the district’s council taxpayers to foot the bill for a newly-imposed referendum – which could see council leader Peter Box take on the dual role of elected mayor.

Coun Stokes said: “The referendum for the alternative vote in May cost £300,000.

“This cost was covered by the Electoral Commission but we have no indication of who will foot the huge bill for referenda for elected mayors.

“In my view, it should be the government, not the people of this district, that pay. Now the Localism Bill has become law, I will be making my views very clear to government.”

The government’s Localism Act – which became law last week – means that referenda for elected mayors in the UK’s 12 largest cities will go ahead in May next year.

If the referenda is passed then an election for a mayor could be held in November 2012, on the same day as a referendum is held for elected police commissioners.

Residents will be given the opportunity to have their say on the proposed changes by taking part in a consultation which ends on January 3.

Visit www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovern ment/mayorsconsultation for more information.