I was the only Metro Mayor elected without a devolution deal (and a salary) in place. I have split my time as best I can and as required by the demands of both roles, a bit like a government minister has to.
Throughout my term of office, I have worked tirelessly to represent the people and communities of South Yorkshire – working seven days a week and way beyond an average working week in order to successfully fulfil both roles. My time is organised around commitments and votes in Parliament, and relevant engagements in my capacity as Mayor and MP, splitting my week between Westminster and South Yorkshire.
My role in Parliament, including the opportunity to directly raise crucial issues effecting the region in the Commons, has undoubtedly helped secure a better deal for South Yorkshire and was crucial in finally getting our Devolution Deal over the line. From the outset I said that being both a Mayor and an MP was never sustainable as a long-term arrangement, and in September I announced my decision not to stand for re-election as Mayor next year.
My work as Mayor was unpaid for two and a half years and following the final agreement of a Devolution deal in July 2020, an independent panel recommended the position of South Yorkshire Mayor be paid a salary of £79,000, which was approved by the Mayoral Combined Authority board in January 2021 (I absented myself from the decision).
I committed to use the money to both support my work as Mayor and MP and a range of good causes: from local organisations to national charities that hold a special place in my heart.
I’m not permitted to use Mayoral resources to distribute any funding (public resource cannot be used to donate what is private income), therefore this update is issued in a personal capacity.
The forecasted amount of Mayoral salary available to donate/spend is to be allocated in 4 tranches:
Tranche 1, Charity and good causes. £21,989.87 has already been donated to a number of charities and good causes, both national and local. These include;
Cancer Research UK**
Weston Park Cancer Charity*
The Woodland Trust*
The Royal British Legion
Barnsley Youth Choir**
a local school’s competition*
a local school
a local football team
a local Mayors charity
Friends of Durham Miners Gala
Other misc donations
Tranche 2, More charity and good causes. Money will be donated in 2022 (+ any contributions in Dec 21).
Tranche 3, Community tree planting. I have launched a tree planting scheme, allowing schools, community groups, churches, sports clubs etc, to receive a tree or trees for their grounds, free of charge. I have already planted a number of trees and committed to plant many more across South Yorkshire and I look forward to working with a wide range of groups across our region to get trees in the ground and to make our area as environmentally sustainable as we can.
Tranche 4, Support my work as Mayor and MP (this is in line with the original commitment). This includes additional office running costs and certain other activities (travel, staff training, other miscellaneous costs not otherwise funded). Money will be spent in 2021-22.
The overall forecasted amount of Mayoral salary available to donate/spend is circa £69,904. For simplicity this has been rounded up to £70,000. As detailed above, it is to be allocated in 4 tranches. £21,000 has been allocated to tranches 1,2 (noting £989.87 overspend of tranche 1) and 3. Remainder has been allocated to tranche 4.
In addition, money going towards tree planting might increase with any underspend from Pots 2 and 4, but may also be topped up with additional personal contributions, subject to demand. This work may continue into future tree planting seasons.
There isn’t an agreement or permission from any of the receiving charities or good causes to list the exact amount donated, but to give a clear indication of individual amounts, a single * next to an organisation represents a donation of £1,000 and above, and ** represents £5,000 and above.
It’s important to note that the figures above are based on a forecast of the money available. There remains seven months left of the Mayoral term and still some pay/tax matters to resolve. All of the figures in this update relate entirely to the Mayoral salary and do not include any other contributions that have gone to charities and good causes via the Mayoral Capacity Fund, any other source of Mayoral funding or through private donations I have made in my capacity as an MP.
Finally, it should also be noted that no pensionable benefits have been accrued over the period of the 4 year term.