Voters urged to take part in election for new York and North Yorkshire mayor

Photo: Paul Downey.

Voters are being urged to take part in an election to appoint a political figurehead for York and North Yorkshire to bring more decision-making powers and millions of pounds in funding to the region.

The electorate will go to the polls on Thursday, May 2, to decide who should become the new mayor for York and North Yorkshire.

Council chiefs say the vote will be a significant moment to bring a devolution deal for the region, and the mayor will oversee the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, which launched on February 1.

It is claimed it will bring benefits ranging from new and better-paid jobs and improved skills and training to more affordable housing.

City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council will be running the elections in the two local authority areas.

North Yorkshire Council’s chief executive, Richard Flinton, will be the combined authority’s returning officer for the election, as well as the local returning officer for North Yorkshire.

He said: “The election on May 2 will see voters decide who will become the new mayor for York and North Yorkshire, and it should not be under-estimated as to just how important that role will be.

“This is about ensuring benefits for hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses in York and North Yorkshire are realised through devolution, as the Government gives more decision-making powers to our region along with millions of pounds in additional funding.

“The mayor will be at the forefront of the decisions being made. This is an opportunity for everyone who is registered to vote to decide on who they want to represent them at what is a defining moment for our region.”

City of York Council’s chief operating officer, Ian Floyd, is the local returning officer for the city.

He said: “The mayor, who will serve a four-year term, will act as an influential figurehead for the region, developing close links with the Government to secure more funding and decision-making powers as the devolution deal evolves.

“Please make sure you are registered to vote for this significant role before midnight on Tuesday, April 16.  To vote by post, you must first be registered and apply by 5pm on Wednesday, April 17.

“City of York voters first presented photo ID at polling stations in 2023’s local elections, as did voters in the Selby and Ainsty by-election last summer. This mayoral election will be the first time for many to show photo ID when voting in person. Anyone without suitable ID can apply for a free voter authority certificate before 5pm on Wednesday, April 24.”

The mayor will continue work that is already under way on projects including £12.7 million to deliver 700 new homes on brownfield sites and a further £10 million to support the transition to net zero, unlocking economic opportunity, empowering business growth and creating new and better paid jobs.

The devolution deal includes an investment fund totalling £540 million over a 30-year term.

While other devolution deals have secured additional funding for specific projects ranging from housing-building to transport improvements and boosting education and skills, the investment fund is seen as one of the key elements of any agreement as it provides flexibility to target money to specific schemes on a more local level.

The mayor will also take on the responsibilities of the police, fire and crime commissioner for York and North Yorkshire.

The commissioner is responsible for holding the chief constable as well as the chief fire officer to account and ensuring their services are efficient and effective.

The commissioner sets policing and crime priorities and oversees the police budget. The commissioner also supports community safety activities and provides victims of crime with a range of services, as well as setting priorities in the fire and rescue plan and overseeing the brigade’s budget.

Details of the candidates standing in the election will be outlined in a booklet that legally has to be sent to everyone who is registered to vote in York and North Yorkshire in April.

Polls cards are being sent to more than 600,000 voters in York and North Yorkshire from tomorrow ahead of the election.

Registering to vote also provides benefits as it can help in situations where a credit check is needed, such as securing a mortgage, buying a car or getting a mobile phone contract. That is because banks and other lenders that check credit scores look through the electoral roll.

More information is available at www.northyorks.gov.uk/mayoralelection and at www.york.gov.uk/elections online.