One Yorkshire Leaders present devolution proposals to PM

The Guildhall, Hull.

One Yorkshire Leaders have written to new Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a bid to “urgently unlock” the benefits of devolution.

The proposals, signed by Yorkshire leaders including Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, are being published today ahead of Yorkshire Day on Thursday 1 August.

They would see a series of interim devolution deals agreed across Yorkshire, creating a pathway to a full One Yorkshire devolution deal in 2022.

Research suggests securing a One Yorkshire devolution deal, including the creation of a One Yorkshire Mayor, could have huge benefits for regional economy, for rural, coastal and urban communities across Yorkshire, and for people’s quality of life (see https://www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/growing-the-economy/devolution/) An independent economic study has shown a One Yorkshire devolution deal could deliver economic benefits worth £30bn a year or £5,400 per person.

Councillor Brady said: “Hull City Council supports the bid for Yorkshire devolution, as we have done from the outset. It is vitally important that decision-making on transport, economic development, strategic planning and other issues is made locally if the economies in Hull, Yorkshire and the north are to respond to our current challenges and maximise our region’s future potential.

“Hull will be stronger as part of a combined authority within Yorkshire and, crucially, the combined authority will be stronger because Hull is part of it.

“It is important to point out that Hull City Council remains absolutely committed to the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, which we helped to establish and which has delivered tremendous growth around the Humber.”

Negotiations will continue with the Government to have a One Yorkshire devolution agreement completed by 2022, the end of the current Sheffield City Region Mayor’s term.

The Letter in Full:

Dear Prime Minister

Securing Devolution Across Yorkshire

Many congratulations on your recent election, and we look forward to working with you and your Government to take forward our shared ambitions.

In recent months we have had very constructive talks with Ministers and their officials to secure meaningful devolution in Yorkshire. We hope that your arrival can allow devolution across Yorkshire to become a reality and complete the missing part of the jigsaw in the devolution map in England. The proposal, which provides the opportunity to add £30bn a year to the economy, demonstrates the commitment and cross party support to deliver transformational benefits across the region.

Devolution in Yorkshire is critical to deliver our shared objectives, which cross political divides and are about growth in a post-Brexit world. It aligns to your stated priorities of more investment in desperately needed transport and full fibre digital infrastructure, increase inward investment and help our companies export, deliver more houses to meet the acute shortage across the county, quicken the progress we are making in sustainable energy generation and carbon capture, better address the skills shortages in our workforce, and critically, help tackle deprivation, both urban and rural, wherever it exists in our communities.

Our previous proposal to Government in 2018 was turned down. We have listened to the reasons given for this Government decision, and have revised our approach so that it keeps true to our ambition for a Yorkshire deal, while securing interim arrangements to allow the benefits of devolution for our communities in cities, towns and rural areas to be felt more immediately.

Our proposal is twofold.

  • For you to agree to joint work between your Government and ourselves that aims to have a Yorkshire deal in place in 2022. We are asking you to share a joint aim to achieve it, pursue meaningful negotiation and undertake the work necessary to make that a reality. Your agreement to this would, in a stroke, unblock the impasse that has existed between many of our authorities and your predecessor Governments and add up to £30 billion to the regional economy.
  • For you to commit to the necessary interim arrangements within each sub region to allow meaningful devolution within Yorkshire between now and 2022. This would allow the Northern Powerhouse to fully realise its potential in the short term and for you therefore to have devolution deals in place across the major metropolitan areas of the north and the vital port and energy infrastructure in the east of the County, ensuring we are well placed to take advantage of the post-Brexit opportunity and ensure that no part of Yorkshire is left behind.

Your commitment would allow:

– The South Yorkshire Deal powers and funding unlocked, in place and used, in interim until the end of the current mayoral term in 2022, when those authorities who wish to do so would become part of the wider Yorkshire deal.

– An interim deal to be done in Leeds City Region (based on a model involving full and associate member councils) commensurate with those in other large metropolitan areas.

– Interim deals to be done across each sub region to maximise the post Brexit opportunity and the impact of the Local Industrial Strategies.

We have already worked through much of the detail of these propositions with your officials in the Treasury and in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Growth. We welcome further dialogue with them, and your championing of this devolution proposal is critical to make these plans a reality and make its delivery a priority in those Departments.

We hope that you will consider our proposal favourably, and we would of course welcome the opportunity to discuss these matters with you. It would send the clearest signal of intent to the people of Yorkshire to receive confirmation of your support for our proposal on or before Yorkshire day on 1 August. Together we can unlock the potential for Yorkshire!

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton, Leader, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Cllr Tim Swift MBE, Leader, Calderdale Council
Cllr Richard Foster, Leader, Craven District Council
Mayor Ros Jones CBE, Doncaster Council
Cllr Richard Burton, Leader, East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Cllr Richard Cooper, Leader, Harrogate Borough Council
Cllr Stephen Brady OBE, Leader, Hull City Council
Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader, Kirklees Council
Cllr Judith Blake CBE, Leader, Leeds City Council
Cllr Carl Les, Leader, North Yorkshire County Council
Cllr Angie Dale, Leader, Richmondshire District Council
Cllr Keane Duncan, Leader, Ryedale District Council
Cllr Steve Siddons, Leader, Scarborough District Council
Cllr Mark Crane, Leader, Selby District Council
Mayor Dan Jarvis MP, Sheffield City Region
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader, Wakefield Council
Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader, City of York Council

[Jamie Goodwin – Hull City Council]

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