SOUTH YORKSHIRE VOTES FOR ITS FIRST MAYOR SINCE DEVOLUTION
Published 29 March 2022 at 8:00am
On 5 May 2022 South Yorkshire will take to the polls to vote for its first mayor since the devolution deal came into effect.
The Mayor of South Yorkshire will oversee a budget of £1.3 billion over their four year tenure. This includes funding for economic development, transport and adult education.
Dr Dave Smith, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) and Returning Officer, said: “We’re calling on everyone to turn out and vote for their next mayor.
“This is the first vote for a Mayor of South Yorkshire since the devolution deal took effect and this time we can be clear it’s a role with real power to its elbow – over the last four years the mayor has become vital part of shaping South Yorkshire’s future.
“When elected, this person will play a major role representing our region nationally and internationally, acting as an ambassador for the area and promoting South Yorkshire as a place to live, work, visit and invest in. This election is a chance for everyone to have their say on who that should be.”
The next Mayor of South Yorkshire will be making decisions which affect the lives of people across the region including how South Yorkshire’s buses and public transport are run, developing region-wide schemes to improve the places we live, investing and deliver flood alleviation projects, and improving vocational training in the region.
In partnership with the four councils, the mayor will also lead on local nature recovery plans, our mission to deliver Net Zero by 2040, and ensure we put in place the support businesses need to grow, and communities need to thrive.
Daniel James (22) is a member of the South Yorkshire Youth Combined Authority. “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice to influence decisions. The Mayor of South Yorkshire does make a difference to the lives of people in our region – a good example of this for me was the Zoom Beyond pass. This is a card that gives reduced bus and tram fares to 18 to 21 year-olds.
“At the Youth Combined Authority, we really pushed the mayor to think about cheaper travel for young people. This is something that has a big impact on our lives, being able to move around the region on affordable transport. Since the card was introduced, I’ve benefitted from this myself. I took the bus to a job interview that might have too expensive for me to get to before – and I got the job!
“I think young people are willing to vote – we just need to understand how it will benefit us and it’s also important to have options in how to vote. A lot of young people prefer to use postal votes so we need to make sure people understand how simple this is and how to register.”
The Mayor of South Yorkshire also has powers to respond to changing circumstances and allocate money where it is needed most. Grant funding has been awarded to arts, culture and heritage organisations across the region as part of the recent recovery programme to support businesses and individuals badly impacted by the Covid pandemic.
Deborah Bullivant, Chief Executive of Grimm & Co, the Rotherham-based writing centre for children, said: “The funding we received from the SYMCA has had such a positive impact in Rotherham. Not only did we commission and pay 14 local artists to work with us, celebrating their work and giving them badly-needed income in the wake of the Covid pandemic, but the project itself has made a huge difference to the town centre.
“We breathed new life into the Old Town Hall, filling a building that has been empty for a long time with vibrancy, art and excitement. Over 1,000 local people came into the new space during half term alone – children and families coming in to join the activities put on by artists of many specialisms, from circus skills to poets to florists. It’s important to remember that before the pandemic, arts and culture was a growth sector in our region – this funding has supported people who will be helping our town grow and flourish. The children we work with have decided Rotherham is going to be the first Children’s Capital of Culture in 2025 and this project was a wonderful way to launch that ambition. It’s brought real pride and colour into the town.”
Dave Smith adds: “The next Mayor of South Yorkshire will have powers and money to decide how we create jobs, grow our economy, improve training, run our public transport network, and build new infrastructure and homes.
“If you care about jobs, how you get around South Yorkshire, and how our towns and places look and feel – use your vote to decide who your mayor will be.”
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