Cambridgeshire mayor candidates reveal their plans for their first hundred days
PUBLISHED: 16:34 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:34 03 May 2017
Tomorrow, Thursday May 4, voters will go to the polls to determine who will become the first mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
"The 2020 vision, I think, could be stronger"
The mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will oversee a £20million annual budget devolved from government, and will also have control of £170million to build new homes in the region. The position is being set up as a condition to secure the funds, and has been referred to as a ‘London light mayor’ - more similar to Sadiq Khan’s role than a local authority mayor.
Ben Lee, director of Snapdragon consulting in Cambridge, introduced Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates for one of the last mayoral hustings to be held in campaigns for the May 4 election.
He said: “Like London, the new Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor will have limits on powers and responsibilities but does have a real opportunity to use their profile and the city’s status to exert real influence over central government and in Whitehall.”
Candidates set out their plans for the first hundred days in office.
"Unless the mayor is able to fund the pilot exercise for Peterborough University in August that project will stall"
East Cambridgeshire District Council leader Cllr James Palmer, Conservative candidate, said: “It’s no good just saying I want to do something, there has to be proper modelling and a proper business case. I will start getting business cases together for an underground light railway, an M11 extension, for the A10 improvements, for the A47 and Wisbech rail, because currently the 2020 vision, I think, could be stronger.
“If we are to move down the line of creating a better Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that can compete internationally with the very best, and will provide the very best opportunities for everybody in this county, the first thing we have to do is solve the infrastructure problems and I will be looking to get models in place and get on with the job.”
Cambridge City councillor and Liberal Democrat candidate Rod Cantrill said: “We have an example of where devolved power has not worked and it’s called the Greater Cambridge City Deal.
“They set off at a sprint, they did not give consideration to the strategic vision that needed to be put in place to bring key stakeholders along with them. What we see is contradiction, confusion and chaos.”
"I think one major mistake that Boris made, and I think that will be his legacy, is the lack of affordable housing in London"
He said he will set out a strategic vision including three key elements, the regional industrial strategy, delivering social and affordable housing, and setting out an integrated transport strategy. His first task will be to secure the funding of Peterborough University.
He said: “I will start the exercise of ensuring people have the right skills so that businesses can succeed, such as delivering Peterborough University; it’s a decision that needs to be made very quickly by the mayor. At the moment that funding is undertaken by the LEP and that comes to an end in August. Unless the mayor is able to fund the pilot exercise for Peterborough University in August that project will stall, so it’s the first thing in the in tray that needs to be addressed.”
Labour candidate and Cambridge city councillor Cllr Kevin Price said: “What I do want to do is make sure we are well underway with plans for beginning to build social housing and council housing.
“I also want to set up a fairness commission that will look at the whole Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area, to look at the pockets of deprivation and examine what is needed there.
“I think one major mistake that Boris made, and I think that will be his legacy, is the lack of affordable housing in London, a place where you can earn £70,000-£80,000 a year and actually not feel that well-off because you can’t afford to buy a home there.That is Boris’ legacy, it won’t be mine.”