Labour and Conservative candidates clash as race for Doncaster mayor begins

Labour candidate for Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has attacked borough Conservatives for ‘trying to sell the message that Government has supported Doncaster’.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 6:00 am
Current Doncaster mayor Ros Jones (right) alongside Conservative candidate James Hart

Ms Jones, who is running for the council’s elected mayor post for a third time, also hit out at the Tory party for austerity cuts to council budgets since 2010.

The Labour candidate also said the borough Conservative manifesto for the position of mayor and councillors was ‘complete guesswork’ and they hadn’t provided an alternative budget for eight years.

But Conservative mayoral candidate James Hart hit back and said Ms Jones ‘fails to accept her own personal failures of leadership’ during her time as mayor.

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Mr Hart also said pledges made by Labour were still similar to today and questioned what the party had achieved in office.

Ms Jones faces competition from six other candidates for mayor as voters head to the polls on May 6.

Voters will also choose councillors to represent them on a local level. Labour is the largest party on the council with 41 councillors. The Conservatives, the official opposition, have eight.

Ms Jones said: “What Doncaster and this country is crying out for is the levelling up that has been promised, and not just the political rhetoric we have currently.

“This is not the time for little pots of money or the apparent lack of ambition from central government.

“The local Conservatives only start talking about what they would do differently around election time, at no point in the last eight years have they put forward budget proposals or an alternative budget.

“They could have put forward an alternative budget, with council officers pulling together the figures for them. Their big and visionary plan could have been costed and modelled using the latest council financial data. They did not take up this opportunity, so their manifesto is complete guesswork.

“They seem to be happy to criticise council decisions publicly, but when it comes to making these decisions at cabinet meetings they do not attend and do not put forward any questions or proposed changes.”

Mr Hart said: “Once again the mayor fails to accept ownership of the problems that Doncaster is facing and her own personal failures of leadership.

“The Conservative government has backed Doncaster Council with well over £65 million of Covid funding, which the mayor has used to fill the blackhole in her budget, along with over £120 million to support local businesses and jobs.

“All the while she gives away nearly £1 million to a private company to run our markets and wastes money on pet projects. Like a bad magician trying to distract you while their illusion falls to pieces – our mayor continues to blame others for her failures.”

Mayoral candidates in full

Joan Briggs – IndependentAndy Budden – Yorkshire PartyFrank Calladine – IndependentWarren Draper – Green PartySurgit Singh – Reform UKJames Hart – ConservativeRos Jones – Labour

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.