A year ahead of the first ‘metro-mayor’ election in the West of England city-region, new polling published today by the think tank Centre for Cities shows there is strong public backing for the new mayor to have greater powers than local councillors, and to take the lead in addressing critical issues such as housing and transport in the city-region.
In ComRes polling of over 500 people in the West of England city-region (1), a majority of adults (53%) said that the new mayor should have greater powers than local council leaders when he/she takes office in May 2017. Only three in ten (31%) adults in the city-region opposed this idea.
In particular, the polling shows that residents in the West of England want the new mayor to take steps to invest in rail and road networks – with more than half of adults (54%) saying this should be one of the top 3 priorities for mayor in his/her first 100 days in office.
Commissioning more affordable housing was also highlighted as a key issue for the new mayor, with 52% of adults in the West of England ranking this in their top three priorities for the new mayor in his/her first 100 days. However, the polling also shows that ‘Oyster-style’ smart ticketing for public transport is not a seen as an immediate priority by the public – with only 7% of adults across the city-region saying this issue should be at the top of new mayor’s to-do list.
The Centre for Cities has also warned that in order to demonstrate strong leadership, the new West of England city-region mayor will need to navigate the constraints of the Government’s devolution deal – which also introduce a cabinet of local councillors, who can veto some mayoral decisions with a two thirds majority. To be effective, the new mayor will have to work with local councillors, while also taking advantage of the significant mandate given to them by voters.
“Critics of the Government’s devolution agenda often portray the new metro-mayors as a top-down imposition on UK cities but this polling shows there is clear public support for a strong mayor to take the lead in the West of England, and to act on behalf of local people to tackle important issues such as housing and transport.
“Leaders in the city-region have worked hard to agree the city-region’s devolution deal with the Government, and to pave the way for the introduction of the new mayor. Now it’s vital that they continue to work together towards mayoral elections in May 2017, ensuring that people across the West of England can benefit from the greater control over local decisions that devolution would bring.”
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Alexandra Jones, please contact Brian Semple, Press Manager for the Centre for Cities, on 0207 803 4316 / 07595 439 638 or email@example.com
NOTES TO EDITORS
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