Seven out of ten councillors in the South East of England are against plans for metro mayors, a poll has revealed.
The survey, conducted by Savanta ComRes on behalf of South East England Councils (SEEC), revealed 69% of councillors of all parties were opposed to directly elected mayors in the region. It comes as the Government plans the release of its long-awaited Devolution White Paper, which is expected in September.
Chairman of SECC, Cllr Roy Perry, said the poll was a ‘stark reminder on the importance of local identities’.
He said: ‘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.’
He claimed councils were different in each region, and added: ‘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 area.
‘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.’