Council leaders submit devolution bid for Yorkshire

A devolution plan which would see West Yorkshire team up with four neighbours to take greater control over its own affairs has been submitted.

Monday, 7th September 2015, 9:07 am
Wakefield Council leader Peter Box

The bid - which covers Kirklees, Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds and Wakefield plus the North Yorkshire districts of Craven, Harrogate, Selby and the City of York - has been submitted to the Treasury.

Council leaders have submitted 27 devolution ‘asks’ with the bid -seeking more control over transport, housing, business support, public service reform skills and new fiscal powers to generate investment for major infrastructure projects.

The leaders say they are convinced there is a “compelling case for devolving to the Leeds City Region” and claim it reflects the government’s creation of city region-based Local Enterprise Partnerships.

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Leeds City Region has the UK’s largest city region economy outside London, with an economic output of £57.7bn.

More than 92 per cent of its 2.8m population work within its area and more than 50,000 people commute between the areas of Craven, Harrogate, Selby and York and West Yorkshire.

By submitting their bid, the council leaders have acknowledged that government will insist on an elected metro-mayor.

But in a statement, they said they “remain adamant” they will only agree to a mayor, and the costs of introducing one, if the powers and funding on offer from government match their substantial ambition for the city region’s economy, infrastructure, jobs and housing.