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EXCLUSIVE: Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss would "love" to see a Yorkshire devolution deal and is "ready to help" with cash

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss has backed a Yorkshire devolution deal.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss has backed a Yorkshire devolution deal.
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The Chancellor's deputy has backed a Yorkshire devolution deal and said the Treasury is "ready to help" with cash if an agreement can be reached.

In a boost for councils seeking an historic One Yorkshire deal, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss said she would "love" to see the county being handed money and powers from Westminster.

Ms Truss, who as a former pupil of Roundhay School in Leeds describes herself as a Yorkshirewoman, made clear cities like Leeds and Bradford were falling behind the likes of Manchester in getting money to invest in areas like transport.

At the Spring Statement on Tuesday, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the Government was inviting bids from cities across England for £840m to improve transport, but the same sum was given to combined authorities with metro mayors, giving devolved regions a bigger pot.

Yorkshire devolution: Javid promises to “carefully consider” detailed plans

After a business roundtable in York, Ms Truss told the Yorkshire Post: "We are committed to putting money in and making sure that we have great infrastructure across the North of England.

"As I've just been talking about in the meeting it would be fantastic if we got a Yorkshire devolution deal, because then more of those decisions would be able to be taken locally.

"At the Autumn Budget we allocated quite a lot of money to cities that already had those devolution deals so they could look at things like intra-city transport.

"We just talked about Leeds earlier, it would be great to see Leeds having a better intra-city transport network, whether it's a tram or a light rail or that type of idea.

"Likewise, Bradford, there's clearly opportunities to improve local transport.

"But what I would like to see is those decisions being taken by local people rather than us sitting in Whitehall and saying this is what you want, it's got to be people who are working in the city, running businesses in the city, living in the city, who have the say over that."

Ms Truss made it clear that it's for the people of Yorkshire to decide the shape of any devolution deal, adding: "but I think we've seen the impact that Manchester devolution has had, and the ability of that city to shape its own future".

"As somebody from Yorkshire I'd love to see that happen here," she said.

"We stand ready to help, absolutely."

Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid is currently considering detailed proposals for a One Yorkshire deal submitted by 18 of the region's council leaders.

All but two of Yorkshire's 20 council leaders have backed a region-wide devolution deal, which would hand powers and funding from Whitehall to a single mayor for a region of 5.3m people.

These include Barnsley and Doncaster, which in September pulled out of a Sheffield City Region devolution deal, meaning a mayor elected for the area on May 3 will have virtually no powers or extra funding.