Conservative attacks West Yorkshire effort on devolution talks

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A SENIOR Conservative in West Yorkshire has criticised the way negotiations to secure money and powers for the area from the Government have been handled.

Discussions have taken place over a devolution deal between the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Government but no agreement has so far been reached.

Coun Robert Light, a former Kirklees Council leader, claimed Labour members of the combined authority were stalling on doing a deal with the Coalition Government to “appease” Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.

He said: “The irony is that while our West Yorkshire leaders dither to keep their master happy, the likes of Manchester and Sheffield, both of which have far stronger links with Labour, simply steam ahead and clean up taking increased financial rewards and power because they have been able to spot an opportunity and grasp it with both hands.

“West Yorkshire has been left out of the loop, is at the back of the queue and, if it isn’t careful will find itself on the fringes of the so called ‘Northern Hub’ jealously staring in having missed out on the economic and financial benefits that our residents need.

“Frankly we deserve better from those purporting to run West Yorkshire on our behalf.”

Details of devolution deals for West and South Yorkshire were expected to be unveiled as part of the Autumn Statement but discussions are continuing.