Meet the candidates in the Sheffield City region mayoral election
‘I am the only candidate addressing and representing the Leave argument”
I was born in Doncaster, still live there and have been based there all my life. I am 53 years old and married with two daughters. I took an active role in politics after the English Democrats won the Doncaster mayoralty in 2009. I am interested in England’s history and its future. Historically myself and my family were apolitical but voted Labour, but being quietly patriotic and socially conservative felt change was necessary and possible.
I have broad private-sector experience around Yorkshire and the UK. I think the role needs someone without an establishment mindset, in particular with regard to the convention of accepting the shoddy and undemocratically imposed devolutionary settlement for England. The other candidates standing are remain voters and/or unionists. That means that for South Yorkshire, which had a massive Leave vote in the EU referendum, I am the only candidate addressing and representing the Leave argument in a party that also recognises the UK is an expensive wound-inflicting burden on the English nation and taxpayer.
It is essentially a lobbying position with some moral authority. I would use that to inform the people of South Yorkshire and the rest of England that the best long-term financial and social outcome for us would be an English parliament like the other home nations have.
The Yorkshire Party:
‘Our region has been badly let down by the political class’
Due to Labour bungling and backstabbing, the mayor we’re electing will have no budget. We’ve missed out on tens of millions of pounds due to the council leaders putting self-interest above the needs of the people. When a mayoral salary is finally agreed, I’ll donate half of it to groups that work in the community to help young people achieve their potential.
For me, becoming Mayor of South Yorkshire isn’t a career opportunity. It’s more than a full-time job. I was born and bred in Rotherham and now my wife and I are bringing up our teenage daughters there. I went to my local comprehensive and returned there as a teacher. Our region has been badly let down by the political class and it’s time for our voices to be heard.
We are the party of One Yorkshire devolution. The City Region is too small and unambitious to stop us falling further behind. It’s time for a prosperous and fair Yorkshire that puts people first. We need bus services that run for the benefit of passengers – not shareholders. We need to come together and support each other; rediscover the community spirit that made our region special to tackle modern ills like loneliness and insecurity. Business growth is vital, and we must reward socially responsible companies and encourage an enterprise culture. We’ll prioritise small local firms over big businesses when awarding contracts and skills training funds.
Labour and Co-operative:
‘I have the character, clout and the credibility to be a champion for South Yorkshire’
This election is important and its timing is crucial. We need a bold and radical plan that delivers real change for the people of South Yorkshire. There is no consensus on the powers and budget the Mayor will have. I want to sort this out and ensure the people of Yorkshire don’t miss out on the potential benefits of devolution. I want us to use devolution to improve the way our public services are delivered and decisions are made.
My whole working life has been dedicated to public service and I have the character, clout and the credibility to be a champion for South Yorkshire. I will fight to deliver:
Devolution that works for South Yorkshire – I will negotiate the best deal on public services, investment and infrastructure, and campaign for a wider Yorkshire deal.
A 21st century workforce – I will secure more well-paid jobs and ensure people have the skills and training they need.
Co-operative public services – I will put people back at the heart of public services and deliver bus services that are affordable, reliable, accessible and back under public control.
Less poverty and inequality – I will fight tirelessly to tackle injustice and inequality wherever I see it and make sure that our city region supports the many and not the few.
Prosperity for all – I will establish a more vibrant, successful and co-operative local economy.
South Yorkshire Save Our NHS:
‘I want to stop the health cuts that nobody is opposing or challenging’
Naveen wants to stop the cuts and privatisation of the NHS that nobody is opposing or challenging. He is also an executive member of the National Health Action Party. An accountant by profession, he has been finance director and financial controller for an American multinational. He also headed up the European mergers and acquisition team for the company. He has been deputy principal and chief executive for a local further education college.
He has lived in Rotherham for 26 years and is very active member of the community. He has extensive experience as a corporate executive in project leadership, change management and finance in multi-billion-pound companies, in diverse sectors. He has extensive experience in the development and delivery of strategy and cultural change in the public, commercial and the not-for-profit sectors.
Naveen has worked voluntarily in the disability sector for the last seven years, helping support groups in Rotherham’s Disability Network, which he founded and chaired. He is also ex-chair of Rotherham Healthwatch.
His priorities would be through meaningful and transparent consultation with partners: Health and the protection of the NHS from privatisation, social housing, fair wages and terms of employment, education, proper policing and transport.
‘I care passionately about young people fulfilling their potential’
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.
I live in Penistone with my husband James and our two young daughters. My husband and I own a Sheffield-based manufacturing business, exporting precision-made steel products across the globe. Before starting a family I worked as a sales manager and for the NHS as a physiotherapist.
I believe I can offer our region the change it deserves. While Labour fight among themselves, South Yorkshire is falling behind its competitors and missing out on crucial opportunities to make this area fairer and more prosperous. 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.
Living in a rural area on the edge of both Sheffield and Barnsley I am very much aware of how local politics can feel so distant from peoples’ lives – I’m determined to involve local people in the decisions which affect their lives. South Yorkshire is in desperate need of better transport, better opportunities and better democracy – these are my top priorities if elected.
‘Another Labour politician elected here cannot represent change’
I visited Sarajevo shortly after the Bosnian Civil War and saw the results of political failure in the burnt-out tower blocks, mass graves and broken communities. I have always been political but shunned the parties that promised so much but let people down. Shortly afterwards I moved to Sheffield to bring up my newborn son. In 2004, from being politically homeless I joined a party that stuck to its principles and worked to make a better place for my son to grow up in.
Four years later I took the Labour seat of Central Ward. I sat on the South Yorkshire Pensions Authority during the 2008 financial crisis and in 2012 I tried to stop the council signing the now-infamous Amey PFI deal. I’m still a city councillor, and in the meantime I have gone from employment as a gas plumber to setting up my own heating business. South Yorkshire has been held back by poor local government. We lie near the bottom of most economic league tables and scandals tarnish the names of our towns. Another Labour politician elected here cannot represent change.
I would be an experienced mayor who would listen to our communities, and fight to protect them from threats like fracking and HS2, whilst also looking to the future, promoting new opportunities for our region.
‘This is a golden opportunity to show what South Yorkshire can do.’
I was born and bred in South Yorkshire, am an engineer and have run manufacturing companies here most of my life, one of which has been a member of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham for many years.
I have always tried to give back to the community as a school governor, a director of NHS South Yorkshire and chairman of Sheffield’s Training and Enterprise Council, helping to secure over £2bn of EU funding for South Yorkshire.
Becoming Mayor for the Sheffield City Region provides a golden opportunity to champion the cause of South Yorkshire – so we can show the country what we are about and what we can do when we pull together in a co-ordinated way.
This role is about so much more than just allowing ourselves to be consumed into a wider Yorkshire devolution plan. There is an opportunity for Sheffield City Region and South Yorkshire right now. We will never have a better chance to improve all our prospects and prosperity, with government support.
My priorities will be to ensure we implement a coordinated strategy, with local partners, to:
Deliver an integrated transport system.
Ensure better co-ordination between health and social care, with a goal of reducing health inequalities across the region.
Invest in training and skills so we have the workforce able to prosper into the future.