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Candidates for South Yorkshire Mayor promise to be more transparent in office

One candidate has promised to publish all their expenses online every month, while another said they would hold a public ‘question time’ four times a year.

Candidates

Four of the candidates for South Yorkshire Mayor appearing at a Zoom hustings organised by Better Buses for South Yorkshire.

As well as promises on public transport and the environment, candidates to be the next Mayor of South Yorkshire have made competing promises on a more surprising theme: transparency in government.

It started with Oliver Coppard – the favourite to win the election tomorrow – who has promised that he will be "the most transparent and accountable Mayor in the country" if elected.

As part of this pledge, the Labour candidate said he will hold a "Mayor’s public question time" four times a year, as well as an annual public audit of office spending and income.

He's also said he wants to "strengthen the scrutiny and democratic accountability" of the mayor's office by submitting himself to the Scrutiny Board of each of South Yorkshire's four councils every year.

Going one better than Coppard, the Yorkshire Party's candidate Simon Biltcliffe has promised that he will be "the most transparent politician in the country" if elected.

To do this the Barnsley businessman has said he will publish both his individual and his office expenses online every month, and would launch a weekly Zelensky-style video blog about his activities in the role.

The transparency commitments are possibly a response to the outgoing mayor Dan Jarvis, who was criticised during his term as mayor for keeping his other job as MP for Barnsley (it was assumed that this was so he could easily take a job in Labour's shadow cabinet).

Green Party candidate Bex Whyman told Now Then that if elected she would “encourage the [mayoral] authority to have regular meetings where members of the public can be involved in discussion rather than just observing.

“I would also like to set up mini elections for our young people to be selected to shadow members of the authority and the new mayor. People young and old need to have the space created for them to have a voice in our governance.”

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