Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton elected mayor plan rejected by council

Southampton Civic Centre Image copyright Andrew McDonald
Image caption The council is currently asking for views on planned job cuts and a rise in council tax

Plans to introduce a directly elected mayor for Southampton have been rejected by councillors.

The Labour-run local authority also threw out proposals to cut the number of councillors from 48 to 32 and alter the election cycle.

The ideas went out to consultation with 48% of residents backing a mayor and 69% of people calling for a cut in councillors.

The Conservatives said the public had been "ignored".

Labour councillor Christopher Hammond said an elected decision-making mayor could lead to "paralysis" if they had a difference of opinion with councillors as they needed the support of at least a third of the council chamber to push through a budget.

'Show some leadership'

On the plan to cut the number of councillors, he added: "We had concerns about workload... at a time when there are less officers.

"We worked out in Hampshire we have the highest councillor-to-electorate ratio. As someone from my party said 'we offer good value for money'."

The Conservatives also voted to reject the mayor but backed a cut in councillors.

Group leader Royston Smith said: "If you're going to slim down your workforce then you should show some leadership and slim down yourself. There's a huge saving in doing that.

"Residents were ignored - what was the point of having the consultation?"

The election cycle change would have seen all seats up for election every four years instead of seats re-elected in thirds in three out of every four years.

It comes at a time when the authority is asking people for their views on axing 137 jobs and raising council tax.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites