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Hull leader calls for Yorkshire Combined Authority

Councillor-Stephen-BradyThe leader of Hull City Council has called for a Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Steve Brady (right) has started the charge after he was met with a tepid reaction from neighbours in Lincolnshire regarding a combined authority for Humberside.

Brady said: "Yorkshire has a combined population of more than five million. That's more than Scotland and gives it some real clout within the Northern Powerhouse.

"The Yorkshire brand is international and is the strongest one we have."

The new authority would follow the historic boundaries of the county and stretch from Hull to Hawes. If given the go-ahead, it would also see a directly-elected Metro Mayor for the region with a plan to seek devolved powers similar to what was given to Greater Manchester.

Brady told the Hull Daily Mail he held talks with council leaders in Leeds over the possible link-up earlier this week.

He said: "It was an excellent meeting and they were very pleased with our response to what is a very fast-moving issue.

"The next step is to set up meetings with other council leaders around Yorkshire to see what they think.

"The early indications are that most of them already see the advantages of Yorkshire coming together to make sure we get the same kind of devolution deal from the government as Greater Manchester has."

However with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Sheffield City Region already having agreed devolution packages with Whitehall it would seem unlikely that the involved councils would also join another new tier of local governance.

Brady, however, remains undeterred. He plans to pursue the plans at the Local Government Association’s annual conference in Harrogate later this month.

"Getting some sort of principle agreement by then would be a signal that Yorkshire is serious about this and I am optimistic that it can and will happen," he said.

The Yorkshire Post has reported that a “well-placed source” told them that a single elected mayor for Yorkshire was “possible” but discussions between local authorities are in their early stages and considering “a number of options”.

Meanwhile West Yorkshire authorities confirmed they have opened fresh negotiations with the Treasury over further devolution of transport, housing and economic powers.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority chairman Peter Box said: “We have opened discussions with Ministers about securing greater control over our economic future and believe our track record of delivering jobs and growth speaks for itself.”

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is a crucial moment in the course of English devolution and we are determined to make the most of it for the benefit of all of our residents and businesses. We are engaging with our colleagues from other councils, businesses and key partners and are open to a geography that suits our economic needs”.

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