Ellie Ames 25 April 2024

What is a metro mayor?

What is a metro mayor? image
Image: Tupungato / Shutterstock.com.

A metro mayor is directly elected by local people to oversee a region’s combined authority.

Combined authorities are legal bodies that are set up when two or more councils agree to collaborate and make collective decisions across their boundaries.

The mayor and the combined authority exercise powers and functions devolved to them from the Government and set out in devolution deals.

What powers do metro mayors have?

Metro mayors’ powers and funding levels vary across combined authorities and depend on the devolution deal that has been agreed with the Government. Devolution deals range from level 1 to level 4, but only level 3 and 4 deals require a directly elected mayor.

Typically, metro mayors’ powers relate to housing, transport and education and skills.

Additional powers can be devolved to combined authorities with ‘trailblazer’ deals.

When were metro mayors introduced and what parts of England do they cover?

The first devolution deal was announced by the Government and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in November 2014.

In 2017, the first metro mayors were elected in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, the Liverpool City Region, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the Tees Valley and the West of England.

South Yorkshire, then known as the Sheffield City Region, elected its first metro mayor in 2018, followed by the North of Tyne in 2019 and West Yorkshire in 2021.

In the 2024 local elections, the first metro mayors were elected in York and North Yorkshire, the East Midlands, and the North East, where the North of Tyne is being absorbed into a larger combined authority.

How are metro mayors elected?

Political parties can select a candidate for the position, although candidates can also be independent.

Metro mayors are elected by residents every four years, using the ‘First Past the Post’ system.

What is the difference between a metro mayor, local authority mayor and lord mayor?

Metro mayors are responsible for the whole combined authority region. Local authorities in England and Wales can also choose to have a political management arrangement that involves a directly elected mayor.

Civic or Lord mayors are ceremonial positions held without decision making powers.

Who are England’s metro mayors?

  • Andy Burnham (Greater Manchester)
  • Richard Parker (West Midlands)
  • Steve Rotheram (Liverpool City Region)
  • Nik Johnson (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough)
  • Ben Houchen (Tees Valley)
  • Dan Norris (West of England)
  • Oliver Coppard (South Yorkshire)
  • Tracy Brabin (West Yorkshire)
  • Kim McGuinness (the North East)
  • David Skaith (York and North Yorkshire)
  • Claire Ward (East Midlands)

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, exercises similar powers but London has a different model of devolution. The role was established in 2000 along with the London Assembly.

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