A LEADING business figure has told the region’s politicians the failure to make progress on devolution is “no longer acceptable”.
Gerald Jennings argued the focus of talks for Yorkshire to take more powers over its own affairs should be on helping grow the economy, not which political party would end up in power.
Parochialism and party politics must be set aside for the greater goodGerald Jennings, Leeds Chamber President
The Leeds Chamber president said it was important the region was not “disadvantaged” as other areas move forward.
Elections will take place in May for new mayors with extra powers and money in areas including the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region.
But the election for a mayor in the Sheffield City Region has been postponed for a year following a legal challenge and tensions between South Yorkshire councils.
Councils and MPs in North, East and West Yorkshire have not managed to agree devolution deals with the Government while a proposal for a Yorkshire-wide deal and single mayor for the region has been rejected by Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy.
After complaining about the lack of progress last year, Mr Jennings said 12 months on “we remain behind the curve and seemingly we appear to be no nearer a solution”.
He said: “Parochialism and party politics must be set aside for the greater good.”
Mr Jennings said the point of devolution was to improve decision-making on policies which help the local economy to grow.
He added: “It is not about political self-interest, what colour shirt a mayor is likely to wear or what artificial structures need to be put in place to ensure power is not lost by those who currently have it.”
The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, made up of council leaders from the area, is due to discuss the future of its devolution deal on Monday.
Since the decision to postponethe election of the mayor was taken earlier this month, Barnsley and Doncaster councils have joined West Yorkshire authorities in expressing an interest in agreeing a devolution deal that would create a single mayor for the whole region.