Voters in West Yorkshire will have the opportunity to elect the region’s first ever metro mayor in the local elections this week.
Metro mayors are responsible for growing the economies of their regions by developing strategies and using the resources they have available in areas such as transport, adult education and business support.
Here, the candidates standing to become the region’s first metro mayor tell NationalWorld about their priorities and why they’re standing.
Tracy Brabin Labour
“Labour stepped in when the government failed during the pandemic. Keeping people safe, delivering test and trace, providing PPE, rolling out vaccinations and feeding school children when the Conservatives refused.
“As mayor, I will build on that and lead our recovery.
“The pandemic has exposed deep inequalities in West Yorkshire - on health, employment, access to education and the poorest have been hardest hit. The Tories have no ambition for West Yorkshire. Delivering the recovery we need and closing those divides requires real ambition.
“I am proud of where I grew up and I am determined that we do not go back to business as usual. We must be ambitious and we must seize this opportunity.”
Brabin also listed a number of pledges, including:
· Create 1000 well paid, skilled jobs for young people
· Prioritise skills and training to ensure people have the skills they need to secure work.
· Support local businesses and champion our regional economy.
Matthew Robinson, Conservative
“This election is about more than just electing a Mayor. It’s about a new direction for West Yorkshire, new funding, new opportunities and new ways of working with the Government to deliver for our region.
“That’s why I am committed to creating decent local jobs, new apprenticeships, and working with businesses - large and small - to help our region thrive and succeed. I’ll recruit more Police and ensure they’re out on the beat, visible across our region and with the equipment they need to keep people, themselves and our streets safe. And I’ll invest in public transport so we have a local transport system that joins up communities, delivers a new mass transit systems and is clean, green and on time.
“If I’m elected Mayor there will be no new taxes, no congestion charge and no playing politics. Vote Matt Robinson for West Yorkshire Mayor and let’s get things done”
Stewart Golton, Liberal Democrat
“We can’t afford to end up with a Mayor that makes excuses for the poor performance of their mates in Parliament or Town Halls. Only a Liberal Democrat can take on Conservatives in Government and Labour town hall bosses to deliver better outcomes for West Yorkshire.
“Covid has shown that our communities need more investment to help deliver a new more home-based, lower-carbon economy. I will have a plan for every highstreet, and will deliver the training & skills needed for new green jobs in construction, energy, farming & forestry.
“Local bus & rail services have become less reliable, more expensive and overcrowded while ever more attention and money gets piled into HS2. I want a better deal for passengers, and Transpennine investment now!
“Let’s keep as many young people as possible from our region from being sucked into criminality in the first place. I will rebuild community policing, and tackle adult neighbourhood anti-social behaviour.
Andrew Cooper, Green Party
“We are facing a climate crisis that needs a strong response that also focuses on jobs and the economy. These are some of my priorities:
Establish a Mayoral Development Area focusing on solar and wind energy regeneration Invest in training for the new skills we will need for a zero carbon economy such us installation of air-sourced heat pumps Regenerate our town centres with free wifi, play areas, public art and drinking water fountains Establish a plan and budget for the Mass Rapid Transit system Bring bus services back under public control to get better services and lower fares Support the introduction of safe cycles lanes to link our town and village centres Establish a Green Building Fund to ensure all new build public building and social housing projects are built to the highest energy efficiency standards Initiate a pilot project for improving existing homes aimed at reducing fuel poverty and carbon emissions.
Box Buxton, Yorkshire Party
“I live in Rawdon, Leeds with my wife and kids and teach engineering apprentices in Bradford. I will use my professional experience in engineering, transport, education and green energy to deliver:
Career-led adult education courses and job opportunities, including green jobs and jobs in all key areas to regrow the economy Greener homes on rejuvenated ex-industrial sites, including social housing, supported by new infrastructure A mass transit system for West Yorkshire, linking all communities
“Improvements to existing transport – electric buses, more park-and-ride railway stations, fairer fares across the region, allow bus passes to be used 24/7 and helping all health and social care workers with the costs of parking and transport
“I will appoint Criminologist Dan Woodlock Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. We’ll recruit more frontline police, end red light zones and clampdown on speeding, drunk-driving and uninsured/unlicensed drivers.
“Political experience is one thing. Professional experience gets things done.”
Wajid Ali, Reform UK
Ali provided a list of pledges, including
“To become the north and the region’s leading hub for trade and investment, with more job opportunities right here in this region.
“To provide an equal and level playing field for the citizens in the region to have the same opportunities as afforded to the south, in the past.
“Free bus travel for all children in secondary and higher education each way and subsidised for all other students in the region.
“To integrate all public transport in the future, similar to TfL with the investment and implementation of a single digital ticketing system.
“The construction of up to 10,000 affordable and sustainable social homes for social rent, with priority to victims of domestic abuse throughout the devolved region - I am pledging 50% of my salary for 2 years to combat this issue.
“Reducing and tackling homelessness in the region, with the aim of bringing this down to zero during my term.