Biltcliffe standing for Mayor in South Yorks
Friday, October 29, 2021
Webmart founder Simon Biltcliffe is standing as a candidate in the upcoming election to become Mayor of South Yorkshire.
The incumbent, Labour MP Dan Jarvis, is stepping down and the election to replace him will be held in May 2022.
Biltcliffe is a proud Yorkshireman and has long championed the area. He moved back to Barnsley at the beginning of last year. Webmart North is also located in Barnsley.
He joined the Yorkshire Party a while ago, and is standing as the Yorkshire Party candidate on a devolution ticket.
“There are 5.5m people living in Yorkshire so it’s comparable with Scotland, bigger than Wales and Ireland, and comparable with Norway – and yet it doesn’t really have any self-determination powers,” Biltcliffe told Printweek.
“We need to get devolution so we can focus on infrastructure projects and things that are meaningful to the people of Yorkshire and the wider UK.
“It’s a huge economy and a very vibrant economy and a great place to live. It even has houses that you can afford to live in, and have families. You can actually have the strange concept of a work-life balance,” he stated.
“The position is a metro mayor – a bit like Andy Burnham in Manchester,” Biltcliffe added.
Yorkshire Party leader, Bob Buxton, commented: “Simon’s balanced approach to job creation, social ethics and environment sustainability sits very well with the Yorkshire Party’s centrist position and green priorities.
“He has professional experience of getting things done – creating long-term, well-paid jobs for South Yorkshire. Just imagine what he could do as mayor.”
If he wins, Biltcliffe said he would step back further from his Webmart commitments.
“Being mayor would be a full-time job. I’ve been moving more into a chairman’s role and already have a great senior team in place at Webmart,” he said.
“The business is growing and I don’t need to put the time into it that I have done. I’m 56 and you don’t need a 56-year-old telling 30-year-old marketers how to do their job.”
Webmart recently recruited Kelly O'Sullivan, who starts her new role on 1 November.
The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) is a formal partnership of councils that shapes policy and leads on decision-making.
Its constituent members are Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster councils. The councils of Bassetlaw, Chesterfield, North East Derbyshire, Derbyshire Dales and Bolsover are ‘non-constituent’ members.
South Yorkshire has a population of 1.4m people, with over 47,000 businesses providing 662,000 jobs.
The SYMCA’s Strategic Economic Plan aims to add £7.6bn growth to the area by 2040, creating an additional 33,000 high-skill, high-pay jobs, raising wages in the process.