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Is it time to consider an elected Mayor for Swansea?


This is an article for the South Wales Evening Post

As a result of the recent Welsh Assembly elections the prospect of Welsh councils being reorganised to make eight super-bodies has now been scrapped.

The plan locally was to merge Swansea and Neath Port Talbot into a single unitary authority. That is not going to happen. The Welsh Government has gone back to the drawing board.

 

Does this mean that it is business as usual? Not if we don’t want it to be.

 

Despite the investment that has been brought into the area since the Assembly was established in 1999, we are still an afterthought in the minds of the Welsh Government.

 

Cardiff and its hinterland continues to get by far the better deal, whilst we have to fight for the crumbs.

 

Talk to business people in the area and a number of them will tell you that getting things done remains as hard as ever. There is a perception that the council lacks clear leadership and accountability.

 

Whether that is right or wrong is immaterial. It seems to me that we need a game-changer that is going to make the Welsh Government sit up and take notice.

 

An elected Mayor, as exists in Bristol, would be an accountable figurehead with a clear mandate to break down barriers and to deliver improvements. Such a person would have a legitimacy when dealing with government that the present City leadership does not have.

 

The right person in this job would be able to make the case for Swansea to Ministers and to investors.

 

Isn’t it time we gave it a go?


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