Farage slams idea of mayor as ‘blackmail’

Nigel Farage speaking earlier this year in Peterborough.
Nigel Farage speaking earlier this year in Peterborough.
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UKIP leader Nigel Farage has accused the Government of attempting to ‘blackmail’ people in Lincolnshire to accept a Mayor that “no-one wants and no-one needs”.

Plans to create a new Greater Linconlshire Authority look certain to go ahead.

The Government has offered a funding package of £450m over the next 30 years – the equivalent of £15m every year.

However, the deal is dependent on the ten local authorities involved accepting a mayor.

In an exclusive interview, Mr Farage described creating a mayor as a “complete waste of money”.

He said: “I travel the country and I’ve yet to see a system involving a mayor actually work.

“It creates another layer of government – another layer of decision making.

“What is wrong with local people making decisions?

“If you asked people in Lincolnshire, no-one would want a mayor and no-one needs a mayor.

“Yes, the Government is offering £15m a year – which is not a lot of money for such a large county – but is saying you must have a mayor.

“No mayor – no money. That’s blackmail.”

The ten local authorities involved have already signed an initial agreement supporting the new venture.

There are conflicting reports about how much the introduction of a Lincolnshire mayor would cost.

It’s not clear whether it would be a paid position.

Figures for Greater Manchester show the office of mayor cost £900,000 over five years.

Under the proposals for Lincolnshire, the mayor would sit at the head of a cabinet involving the leaders of the other authorities involved.

The new ‘super’ authority – which would not replace the county or district councils – could be up a running next May.

There are claims it could generate £8billion and create 29,000 jobs.