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The City Mayor referendum - what it means for Bradford
Bradford is one of ten cities going to the polls tomorrow to decide whether voters want an elected mayor or not.
However the wording of the mayoral referendum question has been criticised as too confusing.
The ballot paper will read: “How would you like Bradford to be run? By a leader who is an elected councillor, chosen by a vote of the other elected councillors? This is how the council is run now OR By a mayor who is elected by voters? This would change from how the council is run.”
And residents will have to vote on whether they want this change in leadership style before knowing exactly what powers they will have.
An elected mayor would hold all the Council’s executive powers and in addition Minister for Cities Greg Clark has said that mayoral cities will have their own bespoke powers tailored to local needs.
It would be up to a mayor to put forward their own proposals for decentralising services and powers, as well as businesses, the voluntary and community sector and other public bodies. Questions also remain over the cost.
Professor Wyn Grant, chairman of the Warwick Commission on elected mayors and city leadership, was part of a public meeting in Bradford on Monday debating the case for and against.
In a report by the commission, he states: “To anyone looking for a simple yes/no answer on the issues of elected mayors from the Commission or my fellow academics will be disappointed. The evidence and the arguments are, of course, too complex. Our evidence suggests that elected mayors offer a real opportunity for change in a place where change is needed. However, major questions remain over powers and footprints of the proposed mayors.”
The organisers of a meeting to discuss the pros and cons of voting for an elected mayor say it highlighted the “ambiguity that continues in the public’s mind”.
Just West Yorkshire says an exit poll after Monday’s debate at the Midland Hotel showed 64.4 per cent of people supported the idea of an elected mayor while 35.6 per cent said they would vote ‘no’.
Just less than half (48.6 per cent) said they would vote for an independent mayor, 31.4 per cent for Respect, 5.7 per cent for Labour and the Conservatives and 8.6 per cent for ‘other’. There were no votes for the Green party or the Liberal Democrats.
The meeting was organised with Bradford Cathedral, the Common Good Network and the University of Bradford Student’s Union.