Four council leaders to take part in Yorkshire devolution debate

THE leaders of four Yorkshire councils will take part in a public debate that will analyse how devolution could transform the region's economy.

The white rose flag of Yorkshire

The event, which has been organised by the Met Club, will feature speeches from Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford City Council’s leader, Coun Judith Blake, Leeds City Council’s leader, Coun Carl Les, North Yorkshire County Council’s leader and Coun Stephen Houghton, the leader of Barnsley Council.

Organisers believe the event, which will be held on January 26 from 11.30am to 2.30pm at The Marriott hotel in Leeds, will highlight the widespread support for a devolution settlement.

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Yorkshire businessman Chris Longley, who is working with the Met Club to promote the event, said he hoped the debate would be one of the last steps towards a “One Yorkshire” deal.

Mr Longley said devolution would unlock the door to major sources of public funding that would provide a boost for Yorkshire businesses.

He also believes a devolution deal could lead to significant upgrades in the transport system, faster broadband speeds for local businesses and consumers and decisive action to close the skills gap.

He added: “We have a creaking infrastructure that causes delays and frustrations for every kind of business.”

He said that parts of the region were still at risk from flooding and “if we had been in the South East this problem would have been dealt with years ago”.

He added. “Our enormous economy is without a voice. It’s holding the North back.”

Mr Longley said he hoped the debate, which will be chaired by James Mitchinson, the Editor of The Yorkshire Post, would provide more clarity over what could be contained within a “One Yorkshire” deal.

“What’s the roadmap from where we are now to finally achieving it?’’ said Mr Longley. “We are so much nearer than we were one year ago.”

For further information on the Devolution and Yorkshire lunch event contact Julie Edmondson on (01423) 525622 or email [email protected]