The cost of the East Midlands mayoral election next year is likely to cost around £2 million – including the printing and posting of an election booklet that will cost up to £900,000.
Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire and Derby will be given more independence and decision-making powers as part of a new £1.14 billion devolution deal.
It means a mayor of the East Midlands will be elected for the first time, at a poll already set to take place on May 2, 2024.
The proposals became law at the beginning of November, when the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill was given Royal Assent, paving the way for the creation of the new East Midlands Combined County Authority (EMCCA).
As well as getting extra funding for the East Midlands, the mayor will have the power to make major local decisions on transport, regeneration and employment.
Documents published by Nottingham City Council have now revealed up to £900,000 will be spent on printing and posting a mayoral election booklet to 1.6 million people in the region.
The documents, published ahead of a Commissioning and Procurement Executive Committee meeting on November 14, say: “As part of the devolution deal with government to establish a Combined County Authority to secure £38 million of funding per year, which would benefit the lives of citizens living in the East Midlands region, an election for a Combined County Authority Mayor will need to be held.
“Nottingham City Council is expected to be selected as lead authority with Melbourne Barrett appointed as Combined County Authority Returning Officer (CCARO) to oversee the delivery of a Combined County Authority Mayoral Election, which will take place on 2 May 2024.
“The CCARO will be required to print and post a mayoral election booklet to every elector in the combined authority area, 1.6m individuals in total.
“The booklet will include information from the CCARO about the election and an election address from each candidate.”
Print Image Network Ltd, which has been awarded similar contracts for the West Midlands Combined Authority and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority mayoral elections, has been chosen to print the booklets.
At current rates £173,000 will be spent on printing costs and £708,000 on postage costs.
Cllr Ben Bradley (Con), the current leader of Nottinghamshire County Council and MP for Mansfield, is in the running to be mayor alongside Labour’s Claire Ward and independent candidate Matthew Relf.
Cllr Bradley says the election will likely cost millions of pounds, including the election booklets, but argued the authorities have “a duty” to explain what the process is about.
“[It’s] a one off cost as its a new thing that most people, truthfully, aren’t even aware of, won’t happen in future elections I don’t think, but it’s a nationally prescribed rule for a new body like this and not within our gift to change,” he said.
“Truth be told, there’s no right answer. We have a duty to explain to people what this is and what it will do, but also to manage costs. Emails are not viable as nobody has everyone’s data or email addresses.
“It will obviously be online as well.
“The cost of a regional election including this will likely be a couple of million.
He added: “As I said, not a decision that we control. However, the big picture is obviously that without an election we’re unable to access £3 billion of new investment in our area so, £900k pales in comparison to the £3bn it unlocks.”