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13.02.19

‘Novel’ One Yorkshire devolution deal rejected by government

Proposals for a One Yorkshire devolution deal handing powers and funding to the region has been rejected by the government.

The One Yorkshire proposals were submitted to the government last year with the backing of 18 out of the 20 region’s local authorities but the communities secretary has rejected the plans as “they do not meet our devolution criteria.”

In a letter sent to regional leaders, James Brokenshire said he recognised a local appetite for devolution across Yorkshire, and that he was prepared “to begin discussions” about a different approach to devolution in the area.

He labelled the One Yorkshire concept as “novel,” and as it focuses on an area far greater than any past administrative area for Yorkshire, it would mean “significant departures” from the type of devolution deals currently in place.

One Yorkshire’s leaders said they were disappointed with the Brokenshire’s response which “exhibits a misunderstanding of our One Yorkshire proposals” and fails to recognise the partnerships developed and the economic benefits the plans would bring.

The proposals submitted last year set out plans for region-wide mayoral authority with responsibilities and funding for areas such as transport budgets, bus services, and adult skills, as well as creating a Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The plans argued that these new powers could boost the economy by £30bn a year, unlocking benefits worth up to £5,400 per person.

Brokenshire said he was however prepared to discuss a different approach to delivering devolution, and would consider any proposals submitted as long as the Sheffield City Region devolution deal is completed.

In a joint statement, the One Yorkshire leaders said: “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.”

John Grogan, Labour MP for Keighley, called the decision “a massive snub” and said the government is “basically proposing the balkanisation of Yorkshire.”

Whilst Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis backed the proposals, Sheffield and Rotherham councils opted for a separate solution for South Yorkshire which was agreed in 2015.

Image credit - Yorkshire_flag_c._Owen_Humphreys_PA_Archive

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