New WYCA chair promises to press for ‘meaningful’ Yorkshire devolution

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has today elected Bradford Council leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe as its new chair.

This follows the previous chair Cllr Peter Box last week stepping down from the role to lead the Key Cities Group.

Cllr Hinchcliffe said that she aimed to build on the huge amount that had been done to benefit the West Yorkshire and Leeds City Region in its first three years, and also push forward for a “meaningful devolution” deal with government.

It comes days after a group of 17 Yorkshire councils formed a “coalition of the willing” to drive forward ambitions for a devo deal involving the whole of Yorkshire, rather than the deal currently being delivered for South Yorkshire and the Sheffield City Region.

“The Combined Authority is still relatively young with a big ambition to transform our economy for the benefit of everyone who lives and works here,” said Cllr Hinchcliffe. “We have already shown, with Cllr Box as chair, that we can make devolution work in our area through the programmes we have delivered locally, which have consistently outperformed their national equivalents.

“My aim as the incoming chair is to build on this partnership progress and to realise the full extent of our shared vision for a strong, successful and socially inclusive economy.”

The new WYCA chair stated that the authority would continue to be “pragmatic and flexible” with the government and were prepared to work with councils across Yorkshire to advance a deal to bring more investment into the region and ensure that decisions were taken in the best interests of residents.

“Alongside this, we will continue to focus on delivering our £1bn-plus programme of major transport, regeneration, skills and business growth investment that will create jobs and economic opportunity for local people,” she said.

“We will also provide a strong, collective voice for the City Region nationally and internationally. We are an ambitious region full of dynamic people and businesses. We need to shout about that more.”

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