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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Carlisle elected mayor vote could cost £150,000 - claim

A vote on whether to have an elected mayor for Carlisle could cost taxpayers more than £150,000, opponents claim.

Karen Atkinson photo
Karen Atkinson

Labour Party activists have come out against out a campaign by the city’s Conservative MP, John Stevenson, for a new political leader.

He’s launched a petition to gather the 4,200-signatures needed to trigger a referendum on whether a mayor is the best way forward.

But Labour claims the consequences could be costly for the city, saying the party has obtained estimates from the Treasury about the price of having a vote.

Mr Stevenson, however, questioned the figures, arguing that the cost of the ballot would be much lower because it could be tied in with another election.

Carlisle Labour Party members unanimously rejected proposals for a directly elected mayor when they met at the weekend.

Chairman Karen Atkinson said: “It beggars belief that Mr Stevenson is going to ask the council tax payers to foot the bill of more than £150,000 just to hold a vote on this when his government is imposing unprecedented draconian cuts on local services.”

“Carlisle is a district council of just over 100,000 people – it is not London or a large unitary authority. A mayor will not have any control over education, social services or highways and transport, as these are the county council’s responsibilities.

“Experience in other areas confirms that elected mayors don’t save money. In fact, it is the opposite. Some councils that went down this route have gone back to traditional local government. We think it is disingenuous of him to want a referendum on an elected mayor, yet vote to impose a police commissioner on us without any say from the people on whether we wanted one.”

If Mr Stevenson gets enough votes to trigger a referendum, Labour say it is “imperative” that the vote be held on the same date as the General Election to reduce costs and ensure a higher turnout of voters than there might otherwise be.

The MP is stepping up his long-held ambitions for an elected mayor on the back of the successful Time for Change campaign in Copeland that means the district will get its own mayor to replace council leader Elaine Woodburn.

Of the cost claim, Mr Stevenson said: “I don’t know where that figure comes from. If the date coincides with a local election there’s a marginal extra cost. At the end of the day, it’s for the people of Carlisle to decide whether or not they should have an elected mayor.

“Quite clearly, Labour members do not like giving the people of Carlisle their say on the future of their city.”

Have your say

You all keep voting N.L in, then you get what you deserve.... you all know that socialism won't work.

Posted by clive on 18 June 2014 at 15:50

John snow the cost of the mayor is the mayoral payment of £4,900 plus the councillor allowance of another £5,000. Big exaggerator? By £100?

I notice you agree on the £100,000 a year though.

Posted by Pete on 18 June 2014 at 08:17

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