Strong public support for metro mayors, poll suggests

Members of the public across the five biggest city regions due to introduce metro mayors support the idea, according to new polling published by Centre for Cities.

According to ComRes polling, 57 per cent of respondents across Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, the West Midlands and the North East said that the new mayor should have greater powers than local council leaders, whereas only 25 per cent opposed the idea.

The results highlighted housing as the most important area they want mayors to take steps to improve, in particular building more affordable housing, with 53 per cent in Liverpool, 51 per cent in the North East, 49 per cent in Sheffield and 48 per cent in the West Midlands agreeing this should be one of the mayor’s top three priorities.

Commenting on the polling, Alexandra Jones, chief executive of the Centre for Cities, said: “Critics of the government’s devolution agenda often deride the new metro-mayors as a top-down imposition on UK cities – but this polling shows there is clear public support for strong mayors to take the lead in their city-region, and to act on behalf of local residents in addressing important issues such as housing and transport.

“While checks-and-balances are rightly built into the devolution deals, it’s vital that mayors have genuine scope to take decisive action to support job creation, build homes and raise wages in their city-regions. For that to happen, councillors should exercise their veto sparingly.

“The impetus will also be on the new mayors to take full advantage of their considerable mandate – having been elected by hundreds of thousands of people – to act boldly and decisively, so that they can deliver on the issues that can make the biggest difference to people living in places like Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool.”