Burning Issue: Will elected mayors for the North East and Tees Valley be good for the region?

Emily Bentley (pictured)

Marketing and business development manager, Evolution LLP

Director of Tees Valley Business Club

An elected mayor would be good for the region. But I sincerely believe that a regional mayor for the North East (and that is the true North East, including the Tees Valley) should be an independent business leader. Someone with strong commercial and financial acumen who can run the region in the same way he or she would manage a business recovering from a downturn in trade.

We need an inspirational and entrepreneurial leader with a ‘can do’ and – even more importantly – a ‘will do’ attitude that cuts through the endless discussions in order to get this region moving in the right direction.

David Johnson

Partner, Johnson Tucker LLP

It feels like the North East is a long way behind other regions in readying itself for devolved powers. The power struggle between the region’s commercial and political heads is unedifying and does little to help present us as a unified body ready to take on the role of responsibly managing itself. Until that can be ironed out – and there looks little prospect of it – then talk of mayors seems premature. Having said that, it has been pitched as the way forward from central government, so if, as a region, we’re looking for the green light to manage our own business, then this appears the most obvious platform on which to build it.

Darren Hankey

Principal, Hartlepool College of Further Education

If they are demanded by the electorate, held to account and make rational decisions which help the local economy; then yes. What the North East and Tees Valley do not need is an extra layer of bureaucracy which slows down the decision-making process and for the potential elected mayors to play party politics.

Michael Leather

Managing partner, Leathers LLP

A senior Labour councillor once said to me that, on one level, the best thing that could happen for the North East is for the people to vote Conservative; that way the Conservatives would take the North East seriously and so would Labour, as they’d concentrate on getting the seats back. In the same way anything that changes the political status quo and starts to bring in the improvements needed for the growth of the region and helps to empower the region has to be good for it.

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