Elected mayors would prevent 'brain drain' from north

London Mayor Boris Johnson Would a Boris Johnson-style mayor be welcome in some cities?

Elected mayors could create thousands of new high-tech jobs in the north of England, according to one think tank.

It is claimed having a Boris Johnson-style figure in northern town halls could reverse the traditional 'brain drain' - where talented graduates have been forced to move south to find work.

It its report Silicon Cities, the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange says the government should put 'rocket boosters' under the idea of directly elected mayors to ensure that all parts of the UK benefit from the country's world class technology sector.

The report points to figures which reveal that up to 55% of graduates from major universities leave the Yorkshire and the Humber region to further their careers.

Elected mayors would be better placed to attract 'tech clusters' of companies away from the south east of England, according the report's author.

Direct accountability

Speaking to BBC Look North, Eddie Copeland, head of technology policy at Policy Exchange, said: "Elected mayors provide a single figure, a visible line of direct accountability companies can work with to get things done."

Some English cities including Bristol, Leicester and Liverpool already have directly elected mayors.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has said introducing a new generation of city mayors is a key part of creating a 'northern powerhouse' - where more money would be spend locally on transport and other infrastructure projects.

Mr Osborne does, however, face considerable opposition to his proposal to 'put a Boris Johnson in every big city'.

High unemployment

Neil Foster, TUC Policy and Campaigns Officer, said: "There's very little evidence that business would benefit from elected mayors.

"Hartlepool had high unemployment before it had a mayor and it still has high unemployment today."

In a series of referendums in 2012, voters in a number of English cities including Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester rejected the idea of adopting an elected mayor.

Tim Iredale Article written by Tim Iredale Tim Iredale Political editor, Yorkshire & Lincolnshire

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  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    They may do but having just seen the commonwealth games in Glasgow perhaps Newcastle or Leeds should bid the 2026 Commonwealth games perhaps that would be a better strategy in world terms.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    The problem is we may end up with a Ken and not a Boris.

    You only have to look at the shambles that is the Leeds LEP to see there isn't a Boris around Leeds just a load of Kens screwing it up.

    We need an English Parliament first and then to look at devolving powers down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    The basic principle of devolving power into local hands is a good one, but following this principle, in this form, with this social structure and these leaders is to invite a return to the basic system of lordship in modern clothing.. so, no thank you. Let's have real change *^^*

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    You don't think the thought of yet another remote tier of elected members and officials having their say on our lives at massive expense was unattractive?
    We could do with a lot less local & national govt, not more.
    Still think it's businesses that seek out opportunities; govt plans just distort the market.
    DeLorean car anybody?

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    What I don't understand is that if the north are so sick of a "London centric" government , why on earth did they reject a regional authority when offered it some years ago. OK it may not have been perfect, but you have to start somewhere.


Comments 5 of 15


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