The New Local Government Network has called for directly elected Mayors fro big cities to be given extra powers. The Conservatives have proposed holding referendums on establishing mayors ion 12 big cities. The NLGN suggests that such Mayors should have "platinum status" in financial autonomy – while mayors for smaller localities content themselves with "gold status."

The report argues that "platinum" big city Mayors should only be required to balance their budget over a four year period to allow greater flexibility. It is proposed that they would also be able to vary the Business Rates by 4% either way. Also that some of the extra powers the Mayor of London already has (for instance on transport) should be extended to other City Mayors.

Will anything come of it? The paper includes a table showing the great majority of referendums held so far have rejected adopting a directly elected mayor. In The Times, Tony Travers suggests they could provide a greater opportunity for the Conservatives. He says:

A Tory supporting local sportsman in Liverpool could have a better chance of becoming Mayor than becoming a ward councillor.

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