This is why West Yorkshire's metro mayor is set to earn more than South Yorkshire's and Liverpool's - but less than Andy Burnham

West Yorkshire's first elected metro mayor should get an annual allowance of £105,000, a panel has recommended, making the role better-paid than similar positions in South Yorkshire and Liverpool.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 11:26 am

West Yorkshire Combined Authority will next week decide the remuneration for the new role, which will come into existence after the local elections on May 6.

The role has been created after the Government signed off on the £1.8 billion West Yorkshire Devolution Deal last year- an agreement that will see decisions on spending on infrastructure, housing, transport, regeneration and adult skills move from Westminster to a more local level.

As well as getting these devolved powers, the West Yorkshire Mayor will also replace the post of Police and Crime Commissioner and act as the “face” of West Yorkshire nationally and internationally.

Devolution photocall with the leaders of the local councils, Granary Wharf, Leeds. Pictured from the left are Shabir Pandor (kirklees Council Leader), Tim Swift (Calderdale) Susan Hinchcliffe (Bradford) Judith Blake (Leeds) and Denise Jeffery (Wakefield).. 11th March 2019 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

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An Independent Remuneration Panel has suggested the figure be £105,000, arguing that the “level of complexity” of the role was greater than a backbench MP (£81,932), and even Metro Mayors in other areas.

The panel looked at the amount of remuneration received by other mayors of devolved authorities. Sheffield City Region metro mayor Dan Jarvis gets £79,000 a year, while Liverpool’s Steve Rotheram gets £80,631.

Mr Jarvis, who is also Barnsley Central MP, initially received no pay for his mayoral work as a South Yorkshire devolution deal was incomplete.

Following its implementation, an independent panel suggested Mr Jarvis should be paid £79,500 a year in addition to his Parliamentary salary. But the head of Sheffield City Region said it would go to local good causes.

The West Yorkshire role will also incorporate the powers currently held by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson. The only other metro mayor to have these added powers in Manchester’s Mayor – who gets £110,000 a year.

The panel pointed out that the Manchester role also involves powers over fire and rescue services, waste disposal and public health – responsibilities the West Yorkshire Mayor will not have.

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner role currently includes an annual remuneration of £100,000. It is expected that whoever is elected as West Yorkshire mayor will appoint a deputy to take on PCC duties.

The report by the panel says: “The Mayor will have a demanding and wide-ranging role representing a population of over 2.5 million residents of West Yorkshire.

“The IRP has decided that it is appropriate to take a figure that is mid-way between the figures of £100,000 (WY PCC remuneration) and £110,000 (GMCA mayoral remuneration) to recommend a remuneration of £105,000 for the West Yorkshire elected Mayor.

“In arriving at this figure the IRP noted that the role of elected Mayor for West Yorkshire is significant and complex – not necessarily fully recognised in the constitutional roles, but also in the exercise of ‘soft’ powers derived from the platform that the role gives the elected Mayor.

“The IRP has looked at a wide range of benchmarking, across other public sector and elected roles.

“The panel concluded that the level of influence, scale and complexity of the role was greater than some other roles used as benchmarks elsewhere, particularly in relation to a backbench MP’s salary and the majority of other Metro Mayors.

“The IRP also considered the valuable views imparted by those interviewed concerning a range of measures and considerations relevant to an assessment of the appropriate remuneration level.”

The Authority, made up of Councillors from the five West Yorkshire Councils, will decide whether to accept these recommendations at an online meeting being held next Tuesday.

Candidates who have so far been announced include Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin (Lab), Leeds Councillor Matthew Robinson (Cons), Kirklees Councillor Andrew Cooper (Green), Leeds Councillor Stewart Golton (Lib Dem) and Rawdon Parish Councillor Bob Buxton (Yorkshire Party).

During a recent Parliamentary discussion on West Yorkshire Devolution, Hazel Grove MP William Wragg asked “Was the money mentioned conditional on acceptance of this mayoral model, and might it not be considered somewhat as a municipal bribe?”

In response Luke Hall, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, replied: “The funding set out in the Budget previously was conditional on expansion of the mayoral combined authority. I think it is right to say that all parties who have entered into this deal did so willingly and in good faith and have made positive arguments for the extra accountability and benefits that it will bring to the region.”