Council leader Chris Read on “fascinating” South Yorkshire Mayor job

By Admin | 05/03/2018

Council leader Chris Read on “fascinating” South Yorkshire Mayor job

COUNCIL leader Chris Read said he might fancy a crack at being South Yorkshire’s elected mayor  but not yet.

Cllr Read, who is leader of Rotherham Borough Council and chairman of the Sheffield City Region board, said he had been interested when the prospect of standing for election came up but had decided not to put his name forward this time.

But he said: “It is a fascinating job but I’ve got my hands full with the job I’m doing at the moment.”

Asked about his interest in the mayoral job, he added: “Maybe in the future.”

Labour Party members have until March 23 to pick between Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis and Sheffield city councillor Ben Curran as their candidate for the May election.

Cllr Curran said he would “seek to unlock the enormous potential of our people to build an economy that works for South Yorkshire” and “ensure right mix of jobs, skills, houses, transport links and infrastructure that delivers social justice and economic opportunity to help people fulfil their dreams”.

Mr Jarvis has outlined a 16-point list of plans he has for the mayoral role, including drawing up an Employers’ Charter, guaranteeing a living wage of £8.45 per hour and dedicating a proportion of the Mayor’s community fund to providing opportunities for children and young people from deprived communities.

The Yorkshire Party has already selected its candidate Mick Bower from Whiston who stood for Rotherham MP last year and said that, if elected, he would “fight to get the best devolution deal available for the people of South Yorkshire” and donate half his salary to community groups for young people.

Mr Jarvis said the election was “a crucial moment” for the region.

But the poll has been criticised as it could cost up to £1 million and the new mayor will have only limited powers and no dedicated budget.

Mr Jarvis, who said he would stay on as an MP if elected, admitted: “We are on course to elect a mayor with no powers and no resources.

“If my first act as mayor was to stand down as an MP, I’d be needlessly squandering my ability to inflict pressure on the Government through championing our cause in Parliament.”

The Liberal Democrats have selected businesswoman and campaigner Hannah Kitching to stand in the election.

Ms Kitching, from Penistone, runs a Sheffield-based manufacturing business with her husband James and said she believed helping to run a local business and raising a family in South Yorkshire give her the right perspective to take on the role of Mayor and be a fresh and effective voice for South Yorkshire.

“Our region needs a positive, business-friendly and credible candidate to attract investment and jobs into our region, improve our transport network and be South Yorkshire's voice — locally, nationally and overseas,” she said.

“I want to see our region succeed — with two young children growing up in South Yorkshire I care passionately about making sure young people are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential — that requires fresh and effective leadership and a clear vision for the future.”

Ms Kitching said transport, investmsent and listening to residents would be her priorities if elected.


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