Region needs a real champion, not wasteful new Mayors

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From: Dan Laythorpe, Little Woodhouse, Leeds.

TOM Richmond (Yorkshire Post, May 10) has hit it just right regarding local rejection of the concept of city mayors in the recent referendum.

Firstly, David Cameron and his cohorts were utterly unclear about what they envisaged the role of mayor to be. If the decision locally had been yes, then Westminster could then have defined the role in retrospect, almost certainly to the advantage of the Government and London and definitely to the detriment of our local regions.

Notwithstanding the withering rejection, mainly for the reasons outlined above, I agree with Tom Richmond that the wider Yorkshire regions (not individual towns and cities) need to be headed by prominent hard-hitters who are not welded to the narrow, often petty, interests of individual political parties.

Such a local leader should be resolutely devoted to the social and economic progress and welfare of the region. A Yorkshire “nationalist” or “regionalist” with vision, dare I suggest? Moreover, such regional government must have at least equal powers to that of the mayoralty of London.

I also agree with Mr Richmond’s belief in the revival of the government post of Yorkshire Minister – held only, by a sitting Yorkshire MP of course – to fight the region’s corner in Westminster. Also, the reprieve of the RDAs and the restoration of a trimmed Yorkshire Forward would further help to reverse the region’s recent, apparently government-willed, slide into decline and obscurity. To sum up, our regions need to have much increased self-determining powers over issues such as transport, housing, education, health, investment and planning rather than Westminster deciding what is good for us.

Shower copies of Tom Richmond’s article onto every Government department!

From: Coun Peter Gruen, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council, Civic Hall, Leeds.

YOUR article (Yorkshire Post, May 12) quoting both Lord Heseltine and Cities Minister Greg Clark regarding city mayors was very insightful for those of us who believe in local democracy.

Heseltine and Clark are clearly not content with foisting an unwanted and unnecessary referendum on the people of the big cities; they do not repent at the colossal waste of public money nor are they willing to accept the near unanimous rejection by the people in these cities about their ill-conceived plans.

Heseltine now comes clean and says we should never have been allowed to vote at all and Clark opines that they will come back to fight another day.

Such arrogance is unbelievable! Imagine what would have happened if the referendum had gone the other way – mayors would have immediately been imposed without any opportunity to have a re-run.

Clearly, they still don’t get it – people want a grip being taken on no growth, spiralling unemployment, wage stagflation and wasted young lives. Come on!

From: Edwin Schirn, Victoria Grove, Ilkley  

HOUSING Minister Grant Shapps says “people should have the right to decide how they are governed”. In Bradford, where I live, 45 per cent voted “Yes” to Mayors (Yorkshire Post, May 10).

So Bradford was the only city in West Yorkshire that nearly got itself to the meetings in 10 Downing Street.

Only Bradford showed enough spirit to nearly say: “Yes. We’ll make something of those meetings so that Westminster and Whitehall know that we are here.”

Now it is left to Bristol, Liverpool, Leicester and Salford to show what can be done. They will be at those meetings. But nobody from West Yorkshire will be there.

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