Labour’s Oliver Coppard declared new South Yorkshire Mayor

Oliver Coppard has been elected as the new South Yorkshire mayor after securing the votes in the second round of voting.

By Danielle Andrews and George Torr
Friday, 6th May 2022, 7:41 pm

The Labour candidate who promised in his election campaign to bring South Yorkshire’s buses back into public control, said he was “incredibly proud” and thanked residents for voting for him.

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Coppard secured 143,476 votes overall but had to wait until the second round of voting after securing less than 50 per cent in the first preference vote.

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Newly elected mayor of South Yorkshire Oliver Coppard speaks after the result was announced

Clive Watkinson from the Conservative party came in second place with 57,347 votes and said the campaign had been “very interesting”.

“If you look at the national media narrative it’s been very much partygate, and that’s not really been the case on the doorstep.

“I’m not saying it wasn’t an issue at all, but people in South Yorkshire want to look at the issues and not just these sorts of things that happen in Wesminister.

“Cost of living’s been the main one – very very difficult, it’s not something that the government’s caused or can do an awful lot about it, it’s a worldwide problem, but obviously we’re trying to help people through that.”

Oliver Coppard after being announced as the new mayor of South Yorkshire

Mr Watkinson added that he will be going back to work “six days a week”.

Mayor Coppard won’t take away powers from respected councils but will work with leaders as part of their cabinet to affect wider change in South Yorkshire.

This could be from expanding the Supertram network, overhauling the way buses run and operate, providing new apprenticeships, investing in adult education and overseeing the installation of new cycle lanes.

They have a budget of £900 million over 30 years but the mayor will be able to raise money like other councils do through borrowing powers.

They could also implement a mayoral tax if they choose to do so but Mayor Coppard said he would not do this.

He will also be a figurehead for the region and will spend a lot of time lobbying central government for extra investment in South Yorkshire.

He will earn around £84,000 a year for his mayoral role and will serve a four-year term.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service moments after his election victory, Mayor Coppard said: “Thank you to the people of South Yorkshire for supporting me, electing me as our next mayor.

“I’m incredibly proud – this this my home, it’s where I was born and raised.

“What I said from the start of this campaign is I was going to get on with restoring the pride, the purpose and the prosperity of our region, so from day one that’s what I’m going to get on and do.

“There’s any number of pressing issues, not least public transport, the cost of living crisis that’s affecting so many people across our region, but frankly standing up for our community and our region, and having a figure on the national stage who’s going to take on this government, and make sure that they have as much ambition for us as we have for ourselves.

“Buses are a pressing issue for all to many people, I know myself that buses are not good enough in South Yorkshire, the public transport network is not good enough in South Yorkshire.

“We need to get on and fix it – the government needs to step up and invest in our region, and put their money where their mouth is. I’m going to be pressing them for that money and that investment in our region as well as doing everything we can do to make sure that the public transport network is fit for purpose.

“It won’t be cheap, it won’t be easy, we do need that money from government to make it work, I’m going to work every single day to make that happen.”

The overall results of the first count were:

David Bettney – 10,177Simon Biltcliffe – 34,857Oliver Coppard – 112,517Joe Otten – 28,093Clive Watkinson – 43,129Bex Whyman – 32,322

For the second count:

Oliver Coppard – 143,476Clive Watkinson – 57,347