Why vote Yes?
We’re campaigning for a directly elected mayor for Birmingham and here are some reasons why…
You can directly elect your leader and if they fail, you can get rid of them at the next election.
You will know who your mayor is and the rest of the world will too.
Birmingham is struggling with some things like social deprivation and a leader with a genuine mandate can drive positive change here if we demand that.
You’ll be able to see how decisions are made and who makes them more easily.
A mayor can make sure decisions are made closer to you and your community, by devolving more power to your councillor.
A whole layer of unaccountable government bureaucracy could be removed by combining the Leader of the council and the Chief Executive.
The mayor can celebrate our successes and bring people together to solve problems by being a recognisable leader, accountable directly to the voter every 4 years.
A directly elected mayor can help Birmingham fulfil it’s potential. Nearly every major city in the world has a directly elected mayor. Birmingham deserves one too.
Do cities need elected mayors?
Leader of Yes to Birmingham Mayor Campaign
I believe voters should vote yes next week because the great challenge before us is one of economic growth, jobs and sustainability. Our city has great strengths and a proud history, but we need to fight harder than ever to be heard in a world that is changing. This requires a change in leadership style.
Currently that local leadership comes in many forms and there is much to be applauded — most of this will remain exactly the same. A cabinet made of councillors, scrutiny committees and department heads running the functional administration of the city, will all still be in place. But the leader we have now may have only been voted in by a small number of fellow councillors whoseown mandates may be as slender as a few hundred votes. They have never had to campaign or propose plans for the whole city, which gets its citizens, wards, constituencies, local area partners, third sector and business working together for the direct improvement of our lives.
They have also been hamstrung by the lack of control of large parts of the city’s budgets and instead Whitehall makes decisions on far too much without a proper understanding of our city’s needs. The localism act and the prospect of elected mayors change this.
We need the right to use those budgets, legislation and planning here in our city. The shift of powers that are necessary to get the city onto the right trajectory are proving to be around supplementary business rates and control of more of the budgets for health, housing, welfare and jobs.
We need to shift responsibilities back to the city with an elected mayor and a strengthened, more empowered, council with cabinet and councillors better able to lead in their communities with plans, budgets and vision. The naysayers are making falseclaims of additional cost but we know from the Warwick Commission’s findings that it should be cost neutral, especially if the person voted in chooses to scrap the council’s chief executive role.
I believe that mayors can help us to achieve our potential. Mayors have clout with a personal mandate to speak truth to Government, to argue for the interests of those they represent. Mayors are visible with a profile that makes them natural ambassadors for their cities, especially when it comes to attracting investment as well as visible leaders to their communities. And with a four-year term, mayors have the space to think for the long term, to make tough strategic decisions, to get public and private sectors working together effectively.
In short, I believe that mayors have the greatest potential of any leadership model. To those who worry that these proposals represent an imposition on communities, I would say that, on the contrary, referendums give people a chance to look at the evidence and decide for themselves. We are hoping to inspire the debate and enable the citizens of Birmingham to engage with the governance of their own city. Ask not just what a mayor could do for us, but what we could do with a mayor.