Supporters of Yorkshire-wide attempts to win powers and money from Westminster must acknowledge the critics and produce an economic argument for devolution, the region’s first metro mayor has said.
Dan Jarvis stressed he is “personally convinced” of the economic case for a “One Yorkshire” deal with a mayor for the whole region of 5.3m people, but there is now an important piece of work to do” in defining the benefits.
The Sheffield City Region mayor was responding to the likes of Lord Jim O’Neill, an architect of the Northern Powerhouse, who told One Yorkshire backers to replace “chest-beating slogans” about the region’s brand with sound economic argument.
Hitting back, Mr Jarvis told The Yorkshire Post: “I would just wryly say that in this most important debate about the future of Yorkshire - there are commentators and there are practitioners, and I’m a practitioner.
“I think I’m the only person actually who’s got two elected mandates and I could not have been clearer about the basis of my candidacy on which I put myself forward under unusual, exceptional circumstances.
“I feel I have an actual democratic mandate to deliver upon my manifesto which is to move us towards a wider Yorkshire deal.”
But the Labour MP acknowledged Lord O’Neill’s call for an economic case “has real value”.
“While I’m personally convinced of the economic case, there’s a wider sort of social case as to why it’s in our interest to draw together Yorkshire, I do think actually he’s got a point that there is a piece of work that we need to do in defining the economic benefits,” Mr Jarvis said.