The powers that a new York and North Yorkshire mayor will have and how much they will be paid

As the weather starts to resemble something that looks a bit like Spring, the usual activities that folk get up will start to enter people’s minds.

Eating Easter eggs, going on an evening walk and - of course - voting in the local elections.

Okay - maybe most people won’t have the local elections on their mind; just 33.2 per cent of people in York voted last May when Labour won control of the City of York Council

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A year before, the Conservatives won neighbouring North Yorkshire Council, with just 35.5 of the electorate turning out.

Senior York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority officer James FarrarSenior York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority officer James Farrar
Senior York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority officer James Farrar

But in May 2024, people in both areas are voting for the same thing: a mayor of the newly form York and North Yorkshire combined authority - and the people behind it are keen for people to exercise their democratic right and vote.

That’s right, after May 2 there will be a mayor of York and North Yorkshire to oversee a new combined authority - exciting, right?

And don’t think of robes and medallions, instead think of Sadiq Khan, Andy Burnham and Ben Houchen.

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Understandably, most people probably aren’t aware of what a mayor will do.

That’s why James Farrar, the combined authority’s interim head of paid service, took some time out of his day to explain what a new mayor will be able to do once elected.

What will a mayor do?

The deal for devolution has secured £750m worth of funding over the next 30 years and the combined authority will be headed by the new mayor.

“The mayor has two essential drivers, one is to grow the economy and the other is the powers of the police and crime commissioner,” Mr Farrar said.

“The mayor has a number of responsibilities.

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“These include a strategic transport plan, making sure people have the skills for the jobs that people need, responsibilities around delivering net-zero and affordable homes in the region and also supporting businesses to grow.

“Ultimately across those areas, the mayor has a responsibility to invest and approve all of those areas.”


  • Strategy is delivered by the mayor
  • However, services are delivered by local authorities


  • Delivering career advice in schools
  • Responsibility for the adult education budget (£11.8m a year to give people training for jobs)
  • Responsible for delivering skills boot camps, which are short training courses to businesses to upskill their existing workforce


  • Investing in affordable housing, particularly on brownfield sites
  • Strategic relationship with Homes England - the government’s national agency for delivering housing - so the mayor can help shape national policy to meet the needs of York and North Yorkshire

Mr Farrar added: “Ultimately the combined authority is about the combined capabilities of the City of York Council, North Yorkshire Council and the new mayoral combined authority.

“Broadly speaking both local authorities retain their existing responsibilities.

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“The only area where a responsibility goes up to the combined authority is the strategic transport plan.”

Labour’s City of York Council and the Conservative’s North Yorkshire Council have been working together for nearly a year, preparing for when they will cooperate within the new combined authority.

Mr Farrar said: “Any vote requires a two-thirds majority, so the mayor couldn’t pal up with one authority and overule the other one, equally two authorities can’t pal up and go against the mayor.

“The mayor needs to be on the positive side on any vote but also we need members from both York and North Yorkshire.”

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Transport, housing, skills, crime, the police and fire services sounds like a lot for one person to oversee.

That’s why some mayors decide to appoint a deputy to take over the police, fire and crime brief - essentially what Ms Metcalfe is currently doing.

Mr Farrar said: “The mayor can select their deputy but there are checks and balances that are in place.

“So whoever is chosen will have to be approved by the police and fire panel.

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“The mayor will put somebody forward however they will need to be approved by the formal structures.”

How much would a mayor get paid?

You’d imagine being the person responsible for getting growth into a region as big as York and North Yorkshire would pay a pretty penny.

It was agreed that whoever is elected, they will be paid £81,300 a year.

A deputy mayor would be funded through the police, fire and crime budget, but a salary hasn’t been agreed upon.

Who are the candidates?

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Conservative Party: Keane Duncan, a former Daily Star journalist who currently serves as the transport executive on North Yorkshire Council. At just 29-years-old, he’d be the youngest metro mayor in the country if elected, and has said he’d be open to being the first Tory mayor to franchise bus services.

Labour Party: David Skaith, the owner of the men’s clothing store Winstons of York, was previously chair of York High Street Forum and secretary of Indie York. He unsuccessfully ran to be a councillor for the City of York Council in May 2023 and now wants to create a ‘mayor’s high street fund’.

Liberal Democrats: Felicity Cunliffe-Lister - the Countess of Swinton - is a North Yorkshire councillor who owns Swinton Park. She recently announced a campaign pledge to tackle food poverty in the region.

Green Party: Kevin Foster is a former soldier who also worked in the civil service for 30 years before being elected as a North Yorkshire councillor.

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Independent: Keith Tordoff was originally the candidate for The Yorkshire Party but was deselected when he promised free chickens for 2,000 homes. He is a former police officer who investigated the Yorkshire serial killer Peter Sutcliffe.

Independent: Paul Haslam, a councillor in Harrogate, was an active opponent to the proposals of a relief road through the Nidd Gorge area.

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