Ministers reject One Yorkshire devolution deal

The government has rejected plans for a single devolution deal for the whole of Yorkshire, after claiming the proposals do not meet the necessary criteria.

In a letter to the Sheffield city region mayor Dan Jarvis, the communities secretary James Brokenshire said the One Yorkshire proposal would involve ‘significant departures from the type of devolution deal’ agreed in the past.

‘The mayoralty would cover the whole of Yorkshire – with a population of 5.5 million people and widely varying rural and urban areas with competing needs,’ the letter adds.

‘Accordingly, the government considers that the One Yorkshire devolution proposals do not meet our criteria for devolution.’

The One Yorkshire devolution deal was backed by 18 of the 20 local authorities in the region, along with Mr Jarvis.

The deal called for the creation of a Mayor of Yorkshire in 2020, along with Whitehall handing over various powers and more money to the region.

In the letter, Mr Brokenshire goes on to say he believes there is ‘local appetite’ for devolution deals elsewhere in Yorkshire, notably Leeds, York, North Yorkshire and the Humber Estuary.

In a statement, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority on behalf of the One Yorkshire group, said it was ‘disappointed’ with the communities secretary’s response and added it would be pressing for an urgent meeting with him.

‘His letter also fails to recognise the considerable work of the great partnership we have developed, cross-party, to develop ambitious plans which we calculate would add £30bn to the economy and bring the benefits of devolution to a region of five million people,’ the statement adds.

‘We were told by government to come up with devolution proposals which enjoy widespread support. In the One Yorkshire devolution proposals we have a deliverable plan backed by 18 authorities, the Sheffield city region mayor, business and trade unions.

‘In response, the secretary of state is now advocating solutions that his own government has previously rejected. We are requesting an urgent meeting, face to face, to discuss the way forward.’

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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