Councils back '˜One Yorkshire' devolution plan

Council leaders are calling for urgent talks with the government on an elected mayor and Yorkshire devolution.

Tuesday, 5th September 2017, 2:11 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:34 pm

The proposed “One Yorkshire” deal would bring a single mayor for the whole county and devolved powers from Westminster.

Seventeen of 20 councils released a joint statement confirming their support for the plan after a meeting on the Yorkshire deal last week.

They said they would work with trade unions, MPs, businesses and political groups to find a way forward.

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The statement said: “At the same time, we will be seeking an urgent meeting with ministers to discuss how best we can work as partners to progress a One Yorkshire devolution deal and obtain clarity on the government’s position.

“We are confident that given the right deal and the right funding, Yorkshire can finally complete the missing piece in the Northern Powerhouse project benefiting Yorkshire, the North and the whole country in the process.”

The latest proposal for Yorkshire comes two years after a government deadline for devolution plans passed.

It also faces disagreements among local authorities after three did not sign up to the One Yorkshire approach.

Sheffield and Rotherham remain committed to a separate Sheffield City Region deal. Wakefield Council has also not taken part in One Yorkshire discussions.

Frustrations over the devolution delay have been voiced by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Local Government Association (LGA).

The LGA said the deadlock risked billions of pounds worth of investment and hundreds of thousands of new jobs which could be created by a devolution deal.

Coun Mark Hawthorne, chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board, said: “Councils want to see their communities reap the benefits of having greater powers and funding to build more homes, secure the infrastructure essential to economic growth, improve our roads, equip people with the skills they need to succeed and increase access to fast and reliable digital connectivity for all.

“But there are concerns that devolution discussions have stalled and opportunities are being missed.”

Susan Hinchcliffe, who chairs the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, added: “We agree with the LGA and share the deep frustrations of local residents and business leaders who want a meaningful devolution deal to benefit Yorkshire, the Northern Powerhouse and the rest of the country.”