The Conservative Party mayoral candidate has kicked-off the debate around additional taxes associated with North Yorkshire having a Mayor from May 2024.
The Combined Authority will be funded from a £750m devolution deal, over 30-years.The mayor would also secure private sector investment rather than via a new mayoral precept.
(Editorial note: we have listed responses from the candidates in the order that we received them, and used images that we have)
Keane Duncan, Conservative Party, mayoral candidate said:
I can confirm I will charge you, the taxpayer, precisely zero pounds and zero pence for new mayoral responsibilities.
I will not add to your council tax bills by asking you to pay for anything other than essential police and fire services.
This will be the case this year and every year of my term as your mayor.
For the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Mayoral General precept for 2023/24 is £31.75 per year for a Band D property or £21.16 for a Band A.
Keith Tordoff MBE, independent mayoral candidate said:
Once again we are seeing political positioning from the Conservative Mayoral candidate.
Keane Duncan is a little stating the obvious as the Combined Authority receives a large budget, and part of the work of the Mayor is to raise further funds from private investment, rather than just add a further tax.
On that basis, I can also commit that I wouldn’t add a further tax to the people of North Yorkshire, but I would go further.
The new Combined Authority needs to be work efficiently, and use money in a way that gives value for money.
The Combined Authority have already said that there will be two bases for them, but I don’t believe that it is necessary or efficient use of money. If elected my intention would to not add a further tax levy, but go further and locate the Combined Authority in one location, in York.
Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, Libdem Mayoral candidate, said:
That’s a very easy pledge to make. I should think all candidates will be committing to this – Keane Duncan is talking about using the precept that allows the Mayor to raise funding via additional Council Tax.
In the current cost of living crisis it’s unconscionable. The Mayor is there to generate growth and prosperity, not to collect tax.
The current budget allocates funding for a wide range of measures, from building houses on brownfield sites to driving the green energy economy and there’s also the local priority fund. None of this would be impacted by the lack of a precept tax.
I can commit to not adding a further tax.
David Skaith, Labour Mayoral candidate, said:
I have absolutely no plans to make any additional taxes for mayoral responsibilities. But it must be said, our frontline emergency services have been badly underfunded for 14 years. In 2010, both fire and police services were at historic highs, but since this period we have seen constant cuts and a lack of investment till both reached dangerously low numbers in 2018. Cuts haven’t only been felt by our emergency services, councils all over the country are in a terrible state financially, once again due to central government’s lack of funding. We also haven’t seen the invested we so badly need in York and North Yorkshire into both housing and transport, two of the key priorities that the mayor will have to tackle.
If we are to make the most out of the new Combined Authority, then we must have a collective working approach and bring both public and private sector together. The business community in our region is going to be vital to the success of the Mayor. As a business owner myself, and the connections I have developed over the years, I have seen first-hand the potential we have to grow a strong and successful economy that will benefit us all.
We have a fantastic opportunity in our region to showcase how we have the talent and vision right here to create a region that is vibrant, prosperous and has great future ahead.
York and North Yorkshire can show the rest of the country how it’s done.
We haven’t had a response from Kevin Foster, the Green Party candidate, but in fairness, we only approached the candidates a few hours ago.