News Release: Elected ‘Metro’ Mayors opposed in the South East

Tuesday, 28 July, 2020

Elected ‘Metro’ Mayors opposed in the South East

Councillors in the South East of England have voiced opposition to government plans to introduce elected ‘metro style’ mayors across the region.

That was the clear finding in new polling undertaken by Savanta ComRes for South East England Councils (SEEC) published today.

The poll of 275 local councillors from all parties across the region, found 69% of respondents said they were opposed to having elected ‘Metro’ Mayors introduced for parts of South East England.

Local Government Minister Simon Clarke MP recently said that a Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper will be published in September and hinted at proposals such as merging local councils into super authorities with elected mayors at the helm.

Reacting to the polling SEEC chairman Councillor Roy Perry said:

“As Ministers plan their approach on the Devolution White Paper this poll serves as a stark reminder on the importance of local identities, communities and links.

Making speeches to trail Whitehall inspired proposals at set-piece conferences is all very well, however how that lands with the local people it will impact is quite another.

Minister Simon Clarke recently said government believed elected mayors were the best model for devolution – however representatives from local councils across the south east have resoundingly said they disagree.

Each English region is different, what works in one may not be best for another. In the populous South East, local councils have risen to the challenges brought about by Covid-19, by continuing to provide essential services to residents and leading on local recovery efforts.

Councils have demonstrated that if you put faith in local leaderships they will deliver.

No one is saying no devolution. England remains one of the most centralised nations so there is a need to bring real powers and responsibilities closer to local areas.

However, that has to be sustainable and meaningful devolution that empowers local representatives with genuine autonomy on fiscal matters and policy competencies – rather than create remote mayoral figures always dependent on handouts from Whitehall”.


Notes to editors:
1. Councillor Roy Perry is available for interview.
2. South East England Councils is a regional grouping of the Local Government Association.
3. With most local councils as members, SEEC works in partnership to make the region a great place to live, work and do business
4. Savanta ComRes interviewed 275 South East Councillors online between 13 and 23 July 2020. Data were weighted to be representative of all SE Councillors by factors including council type, council control, party and gender. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
5. Respondents were asked the question: ‘To what extent would you support or oppose having elected ‘Metro’ Mayors introduced for parts of South East England?

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