The Northern TUC has formally joined the campaign to oppose directly elected mayors in the North East and Cumbria. The Northern TUC's Regional Executive yesterday voted unanimously to oppose directly elected mayors and to formally support the campaign against a mayor in Newcastle. As the umbrella organisation for 58 affiliated trade unions the Northern TUC represents 330,000 working people in the North East and has the highest proportion of people who are members of a union of anywhere in England.
Northern TUC Regional Secretary Kevin Rowan said:
'Trade unions in the Northern region are saying 'yes' to more local democracy but 'no' to the concentration of power in any one individual's hands. The problems facing the region and the opportunities in the future need more collaborative working and more democracy. Many trade unions fear the personality politics of directly elected mayors means the real issues facing their members and communities are sidelined. We will be campaigning against an elected mayor in the run up to May 3rd and call for a real revival of local government with more powers and more accountability instead.'
This decision was warmly welcomed by Lord Jeremy Beecham who is jointly spearheading the campaign against a directly elected mayor in Newcastle alongside Cllr David Faulkner. Lord Beecham speaking on behalf of the Newcastle No campaign responded:
'We warmly welcome the decision of the Northern TUC to support the No Campaign against elected mayors and for more powers and resources for all North East councils instead. This is a significant boost to the campaign with postal votes due to land on doorsteps later next week. Newcastle does not need an elected mayor. It will place too much power in a single person's hands. It takes a vote of two thirds of the council to challenge a mayor's decision. This can lead to gridlock, as in North Tyneside, where a budget cannot be agreed. The cost of mayoral elections, and the salaries of the mayor and his or her staff, would be far better spent on services. That is why we are urging people to vote no in the referendum.'
Issued: 19 April, 2012