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On 2 May 2024 elections will be held for nine metro-mayors across England, as well as for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. This is the largest number of metro-mayor elections held on a single day to date.

This briefing provides details about what metro-mayors are, the powers they exercise and the funding they receive, as well as a map of the areas they cover. It also looks at recent devolution policy and includes a list of existing metro-mayors and the results of previous elections, which were first held in 2017.

What are metro-mayors?

Metro-mayors are directly elected mayors who oversee ‘mayoral combined authorities’. These authorities cover several local authority areas, and the mayors have powers set out in devolution deals negotiated between the Government and local leaders.

Metro-mayors differ from directly elected mayors in local authorities. Those mayors exercise powers already held by the council.

The powers held by metro-mayors typically relate to areas such as transport, skills provision, and acquiring and regenerating land, although these depend on the level of devolution deal agreed with the Government (ranging from level 1 to level 4).

Despite exercising similar powers, the Mayor of London is not a metro-mayor, having been established under separate legislation in 2000 along with the London Assembly. More information is available in the Library research briefing The Greater London Authority.

Where do metro-mayors get funding from?

Metro-mayors get most of their funding from government grants. However, some also get money from council tax and business rates.

Devolution policy

As of March 2024, 22 areas of England have a devolution deal in place or in progress.

The Government has set out a ‘devolution framework’, with four levels of devolution. Levels 3 and 4 require a directly-elected mayor and provide for more powers to be devolved, whilst level 2 does not require a directly-elected mayor.

Further reading

More information about devolution deals for metro-mayors can be found in the Library research briefing Devolution to local government in England. Additional information about the 2023 ‘trailblazer deals’ for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands can be found in the Library research briefing Trailblazer devolution deals.

Additional information is also available from the Institute for Government’s briefing Metro mayors and the 2024 mayoral elections.

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