Plans to make Birmingham pay for a referendum on creating an elected mayor have been slammed as “an absolute scandal” by a city MP.
Steve McCabe (Lab Selly Oak) spoke out after the Government confirmed that local authorities would have to pay for votes planned next year to determine whether to create directly-elected mayors in England’s largest cities.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has estimated that the cost of holding referenda in 12 cities would be £2.6 million, an average of £216,000 each.
As Britain’s largest local authority, the cost in Birmingham could end up being higher than the average.
Mr McCabe said he wanted the Government to fund the cost directly from the Treasury.
He said: This is absolutely scandalous. The Government has cut Birmingham City Council’s budget but now expects us to pay for a Mayoral referendum which the Government is insisting Birmingham holds.
“I have nothing against the principle of elected mayors and I am happy for the people of Birmingham to decide but we did not ask to have a referendum – why should we pay for it?
“Right now if you ask my constituents would you rather pay for the social care of an elderly citizen or fork out tens of thousands on a referendum I know which they would chose.
“It is an utter disgrace and the Government should rethink these proposals”