A MINISTER has insisted it is up to Yorkshire to decide its devolution future while simultaneously rejecting the One Yorkshire proposal.
Lord Bourne continued to stand by the Government’s insistence that the Sheffield City Region devolution deal should go ahead despite two of the four council areas it covers, Barnsley and Doncaster, withdrawing their support.
However, the junior Communities and Local Government Minister, held out the possibility that a wider Yorkshire deal could be done in the future.
Pressed in the Lords by Lord Wallace why the Government was resisting the One Yorkshire idea, Lord Bourne said “it is for the people of Yorkshire to decide where this goes ultimately” but added “we must progress with” the Sheffield City Region.
Asked about the prospects for a so-called Greater Yorkshire deal - involving council areas outside South Yorksbire - by former Yorkshire MEP Lord Kirkhope, Lord Bourne was positive.
He added: “If the authorities wished to combine thereafter—and that would be a matter for them—it would be possible for that to be discussed further down the line, but we have an existing deal, on which a great deal of time and energy has been expended locally and in both Houses of Parliament.”
Barnsley and Doncaster are among 17 Yorkshire councils which have backed a plan for Yorkshire to take more control over its own affairs under an elected mayor.
They have declined to take forward the Sheffield City Region deal they agreed with Sheffield and Rotherham two years ago. But ministers are insisting the election of a Sheffield City Region mayor should go ahead.