Green party candidate pledges not to ‘overpromise’ in mayoral campaign
Apr 17, 2024

The Green Party’s Kevin Foster says he does not see himself as a politician, more of an “ordinary person done good”.

Mr Foster’s background includes serving in the British Army reserves for 30 years before moving into politics.

He successfully stood for election on RIchmondshire District Council in 2019, before being elected to the newly created North Yorkshire Council three years later in Hipswell and Colburn division.

Since then, he has gone onto become the council’s armed forces champion as well as the Green Party leader on North Yorkshire Council.

Much of Mr Foster’s campaign has focussed on the “circular economy”, which is defined as reusing products, labour and materials in order to get the best value from them.

He points to the potential for green technology and artificial intelligence in the county as an example of how the economy could work.

“Why can’t we be a leader in those technologies and bring them in?”

He has also campaigned for better public transport and for more funding from government as part of its devolution deal.

Kevin Foster.

Kevin Foster.

Mr Foster said the £18 million a year which currently makes up the mayoral budget would need to be “10 times more” in order for the mayor to make a difference in the county.

When asked how he would intend to get more money from government, he said his political career has been spent working with opposition parties.

“Being a minority party and the only one in Richmond, I learned very quickly how you have got to work in a team.

“I hear from people that politics is broken, well lets have someone else in there to make a difference.

“I have worked with Conservatives in Richmondshire District Council. I still work with the Conservatives and I work with other parties.I do not make a judgement on party, I make a judgement on that idea.”

Mr Foster added that he was not whipped by his party, so would be able to work with opposition leaders on the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.

‘Not going to overpromise’

As part of his campaign, Mr Foster has also stopped short of announcing any marquee policies and pledges.

So far, he has committed to setting up a mayoral innovation fund and a poverty support fund.

The Stray Ferret asked Mr Foster whether he would use the powers to franchise bus services afforded to the mayor as part of his transport plans.

In response, he said he was not going to “overpromise and under deliver”.

Mr Foster said that part of the mayor’s remit will be to hammer out proposals with the combined authority’s staff, including interim head of paid service James Farrar.

He said:

“People make these promises, but when they go into that room and start the discussions they are going to be surprised because it is not that easy.

“The last person who made big promises and went running in somewhere was Liz Truss. That did not work out well.”

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Heading into polling day, does Mr Foster feel confident that he can secure the mayoral position for the Green Party?

He points to the fact that North Yorkshire Council currently has four Green councillors and that national parties have adopted green policies over the years.

“If we do not keep voting for what we believe in, we do not change anything.”

The York and North Yorkshire mayor will be chosen by residents of the region in an election on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

The deadline to register to vote is 11:59pm, Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

The full list of candidates are:

  • Keith Tordoff, independent
  • Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, Liberal Democrats
  • Keane Duncan, Conservative Party
  • David Skaith, Labour Party
  • Kevin Foster, Green Party
  • Paul Haslam, independent