West Yorkshire mayoral election: What does the new role entail?

South Yorkshire, Manchester and Liverpool have already got one - and now voters in West Yorkshire have got the chance to choose their first-ever regional mayor.

The role comes with a £38m annual budget and new powers to oversee policing, housing and transport policies for the more than two million residents of West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire's new mayor will work with councils of Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield Credit: ITV Calendar

I spent last week travelling through part of the region, listening to what people hope a mayor could change.

In the towns and villages north of Bradford, one complaint that came up time and time again was the poor transport connections.


Jenny Brock, Mary O'Neill and Kenneth Cocksedge Credit: ITV Calendar

Mary O’Neill is from the Eccleshill Walkers group in Bingley. "Villages are now cut off. If you don’t have a car, you don’t go anywhere. It’s very isolating for people," she said.

"Too much investment has gone to the south of England and it has done for generations. It has to change. We’re in the wilderness up here. We need a local mayor and local money,” said Ken Cocksedge, another walker.

Angela Robertson runs a local community transport service Credit: ITV Calendar

Angela Robertson, who runs the Newlands Community Transport says too many decisions on regional transport are made in London.

(Left to right) Sandra Burgan helps to run the community bus service, Peter and Denise Warwick are regular users of the community bus. Credit: ITV Calendar


There are challenges too on housing. 

"West Yorkshire has got 10 of the most deprived areas in England so there is quite a lot of demand for affordable housing," says Helen Lennon, chair of the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership. She hopes having a figurehead like a regional mayor can help create more affordable accommodation. She added:

More than ninety thousand people in West Yorkshire are on affordable housing waiting lists. Credit: ITV Calendar


Crime in West Yorkshire is falling. But the crime rate is still one of the highest in England.

Sarah Loyd works on a crime education and intervention programme Credit: ITV Calendar

Sarah Lloyd lost her son Kieran Butterworth in a stabbing eight years ago. In the time since, she’s devoted her life to developing an education and intervention programme to steer people away from knife crime.

She explained:

She added: "These localised pockets need localised help. It’s no good coming from London, making decisions for our area. It needs to come from our area from somebody who actually understands our area to implement something to make a difference."

Addressing all these issues won’t happen overnight. And most of the mayoral candidates accept they’ll need more money to implement any significant change. But the hope is that electing a mayor is a step in the right direction towards a brighter future for West Yorkshire.