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One Yorkshire devo gets major push as Wakefield council leader commits to deal

The leader of Wakefield Council has publicly come out in support of the One Yorkshire devolution deal, meaning 18 of the 20 local authorities in the area now back the deal.

Initially in favour of a city region devolution agreement, Cllr Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, has decided to back the wider Yorkshire plans in order to prevent the government pulling out of a deal entirely.

The news follows communities and housing secretary Sajid Javid’s announcement of a compromise to the One Yorkshire deal which could allow Doncaster and Barnsley councils to enter into the agreement despite both previously supporting another plan.

Box said he still believes a city region project could deliver the “biggest growth in the shortest time” for Wakefield but has decided to back a geographically-wider deal as it is the best chance to achieve devolution in the county.

“Over the last few weeks it's become apparent that the government will use any difference between us over the best model of delivery as a reason for not devolving any of the powers and resources that we need to deliver our shared ambitions,” he explained.

The leader went on to commit to a deal by 2020, also urging the government to drop plans to have a “wholly unnecessary” mayoral election in Sheffield in May, opting instead for an interim mayor.

“A Coalition of the United has the best chance of transforming our region and making a real difference to the lives of those people we are privileged to represent,” he said.

The question of a Yorkshire deal has been the subject of controversy in the region for some time now, with both Doncaster and Barnsley councils putting the issue to a public vote in November last year.

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