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£3.6m funding for Mayoral election ‘not yet secured’

By Tom Dare | Birmingham | News | Published:

More than three million in funding to host the West Midlands mayoral elections this year has still not been secured – despite the elections taking place in less than three months.

The West Midlands mayoral election is due to take place on May 7

Due to take place on May 7, this year’s mayoral elections will see incumbent Conservative Mayor Andy Street take on Labour candidate and current-serving MP Liam Byrne, while there will also be representation from the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, among others.

They will be the first elections to take place since Mr Street won the inaugural West Midlands Mayoral election back in 2016, with the winner set to serve another four years in the position.

Documents from this week’s West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) board meeting reveal that the cost of the election is set to be around £3.6 million, allowing for polling stations, staff and other expenses.

However a total of £3.6 million has still not been secured by the WMCA, and might not be confirmed until as late as March 11 – less than two months before the election is due to start.

“It should be noted that funding for the May 2020 Mayoral election is yet to be secured,” papers from Friday’s meeting note.

“West Midlands Combined Authority, alongside other Mayoral Combined Authorities, continues to lobby government to provide funding.

“A further update will be provided in the March 2020 Financial Monitoring Report, following the Government’s budget announcements currently anticipated on 11 March 2020.”

Should the government not announce funding for the elections in its budget statement in March, it could be left up to the WMCA itself to find the £3.6 million necessary to hold the vote.

A spokesperson for the WMCA said: “With our fellow mayoral combined authorities across the UK, we are continuing to lobby Government for funding to cover the cost of the 2020 mayoral elections.

“If that funding is not forthcoming WMCA Board will receive an update to its March meeting setting out an alternative plan to cover the estimated £3.6 million cost.”

Tom Dare

By Tom Dare

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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