Sheffield Chamber of Commerce today has issued its mayoral manifesto as the countdown to the Sheffield City Region mayor election nears. Find out what the voice of business is looking for…

In May 2018 the Sheffield City Region will elect a mayor as part of the Devolution Agreement with Government.

The Sheffield Chamber recognises how important this is for the short and long term economic development of this region. The Mayor will have significant control over much of the funding coming into the region as well as the responsibility of Chairing the Combined Authority and will need to work closely with the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. We should always remember that this is a position created as part of an economic deal.

Working in a political environment will be necessary, but a person who is not driven by the short-term horizons of politics, but by the longer-term commitments to building an economy is, in our opinion, critical to our success.

Our top priorities are:

  • Somebody who has clearly shown that they can build an economy for the future. Management is about today. Leadership is about the future. We would not preclude somebody who has been involved in politics but we believe we need somebody who has also been at the sharp end of commerce and who has worked with the big players in the business world.
  • Somebody who can cut across the political divides that exist in any region. The recent history of Sheffield City Region means we need strong leadership now. We need a mayor who can build coalitions amongst those who may not immediately agree with each other. We need someone who is willing and able to challenge divisive behaviours that can undermine confidence in our regional capability.
  • Somebody who can “market” the region to the rest of the world. For too long we have undersold ourselves. This is a great region with many attributes. In many areas it is world class and in some world leading. It is a great place to live and work. We need to get that message out.
  • Somebody who can get things done and achieve agreed objectives. The world is littered with unimplemented strategies. We have a regional strategy that we all need to get behind and get implemented.
  • Somebody who cuts across the process driven mentality of many Public Sector programs. Too many of the business support type programs have good intentions but require business to conform to bureaucratic, tightly controlled process that do not relate to actual business conditions. They stifle innovation and entrepreneurialism.

This region has come far in the last few years. We have diversified our economy. Advanced Manufacturing is still important, but we are also building world leading activities around tourism, health and wellness, creative and cultural and logistics. We still have healthy activities in areas like construction, retail and professional services which are important to our overall economy. Our education sector is flourishing with good universities, colleges and investments in vocational routes to work (AMRC Training Centre, Rail College and UTCs).

Our social enterprises and public sectors are strong and comprehensive. We have everything we need to succeed.

The mayor is needed to have both the vision of where we need to go, but the ability to draw it all together and deliver that vision.

Richard Wright

Executive Director

Sheffield Chamber of Commerce

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