World Mayor vote 2021
Andrew Stevens
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Andrew Stevens is a Fellow at the City Mayors Foundation.

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Articles by Andrew Stevens
| Government | Politics |

English city and
regional mayors
In London and several metropolitan areas, England’s cities are led by elected Mayors, while all but 13 of the 296 local councils in England are run by a Council Leader elected by their fellow councillors. Since 2002 a number have been led by mayors elected directly by local voters. Most of the local authority elected mayors in England have responsibility for all local services, with two district council mayors responsible for only environment, planning and housing. In London and the metro area Combined Authorities, the Mayor is responsible for transport, economic development, skills and spatial planning, as well as other fields as devolved. All of England’s elected mayors were previously elected for four-year terms by the instant run-off Supplementary Vote, from 2023 this has been by a simple majority (‘First Past the Post’). There are no elected mayors in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. MORE

The City of London: History,
feudalism and global finance

The landmarks of the area covered by the historic City of London Corporation are known to many – St Paul’s Cathedral, the Old Bailey, the ‘Gherkin’, the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ and the ‘Cheesegrater’, to name a few – but less is known about the ancient ‘Corporation’ itself. The City of London can also sometimes be confused with Greater London (the region covered by the Greater London Authority), but the two areas are entirely distinct and separate. Often simply referred to as ‘The City’, it has long been shorthand for the UK’s financial services sector.

The area of the City of London was first settled by the Romans and is governed by the City of London Corporation, which acts as the local authority for its jurisdiction. Gradually, the City of London established itself as the ‘capital’ of England, though Parliament and the Civil Service (Whitehall) are all based in the neighbouring City of Westminster. The Corporation and its practices have their origins as far back as 1111, it regards itself as “the oldest local authority in England”. MORE

New York’s Borough Presidents:
Influential beyond their powers

Bloomberg, Giuliani, Dinkins, Koch, the roll call of New York City leaders is notable by any city’s standards, as flyers to its LaGuardia airport can attest. Though weighty civic offices in their own right, the presidents of the five boroughs on the other hand enjoy less national or global prominence but possess considerable boss-like patronage and influence over local communities across the city.  NYC’s new Mayor Eric Adams served as Brooklyn’s Borough President for two terms from 2013, prior to his election as successor to the term-limited Bill De Blasio last November. MORE

Not the Mayor but the Boroughs
provide London’s vital services

While most Londoners can name their Mayor, fewer would recognise their local council leader in the street.  Despite a half-century of existence, the municipal tier of government in the UK’s capital city London rarely makes the headlines, though since 2000 its mayors have enjoyed global prominence, particularly current Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his two terms.  Taken together, the London Boroughs and the historic City of London Corporation form the 33 municipalities of Greater London, though their roles and workings are often less well understood than the Mayor and City Hall of the regional Greater London Authority. MORE

History and many post-war reforms
shape local government in the UK

There is no single pattern of local government in the United Kingdom. Instead arrangements vary in the four ‘home nations’ of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, Wales and urban England, with the exception of London, single-tier unitary authorities provide all local services, whereas non-metropolitan England is served by a two-tier system split between district and county councils. MORE

Britain’s public service ethos
curbs elected mayors’ salaries

In the UK local politics has long been seen as community service rather than a professional career and this is reflected in the salaries paid to elected mayors. By contrast, senior officials in city administrations are often paid more than double the mayor’s salary. For instance, the Metro Mayor of the Tees Valley receives £65,000 per year, yet the authority’s chief executive takes home a more impressive £170,000, a gap of over £100,000. While mayoral and councillors’ remuneration is recommended by independent external advisers, councils are free to set their own political pay rates, though many reduce or freeze against the recommended level, mindful of local voters’ reactions. MORE

Local government in Ireland
Irish with a British accent

Local government in the Republic of Ireland predates its national political structures, with the constitutional arrangements laid down under British rule in the late nineteenth century remaining in place. Ireland’s local government arrangements consisted until recently of 29 county and county borough councils with a set of smaller town and in some cases borough councils at the sub-tier. A big bang reorganisation in 2014 saw this number streamlined and flattened into 31 all-purpose local authorities through a series of mergers, in response to Ireland’s recent economic and political crisis. MORE

World mayors, their
parties and politics

March 2023: Even after the reassertion of the nation-state amid multiple global crises, policy interest in city mayors and their impact on most people’s lives remains undiminished, with planetary urbanisation as a megatrend continuing apace. It is well understood that by 2050 over two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, with a city the size of Stockholm added to the planet each week. But who even gets to govern the actual City of Stockholm and how? In this occasional survey (2009, 2011, 2014 and 2018), City Mayors examines the impact of partisan politics on how city leaders are chosen in the world’s largest cities and what trends have emerged over this period. MORE