An MP has hit out at Ministers’ “frustrating” reluctance to engage with widely-backed and detailed proposals for a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal which will see powers and money invested in one mayor for the region.
Keighley MP John Grogan attempted to press Treasury Ministers for a response to an economic study submitted last month that predicted a One Yorkshire deal which could deliver a £30bn boost to the region, and a proposed road map for how it could become a reality.
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick reiterated the Government’s long-held position that the Sheffield City Region (SCR) deal must be implemented first.
But SCR Mayor Dan Jarvis, who backs One Yorkshire, has been left with little powers or money as Barnsley and Doncaster would rather take part in a wider deal as part of a cross-party group of 18 councils from across the region.
Speaking outside the Commons, Mr Grogan told The Yorkshire Post: “It is frustrating that Ministers are reluctant to get around the table to discuss the One Yorkshire proposal particularly as it is backed by their most senior party colleagues in the county.
“I think Government lawyers will be considering carefully the duty of Ministers to properly consider a proposal that has been made in the context of their own devolution legislation.
“To be honest Brexit is consuming all the Cabinet’s political energy at the moment and the irony is that the all Yorkshire devolution proposals are very relevant in that context.”
Earlier, Mr Jenrick answered a question from Mr Grogan in the Commons, saying: “We have said that we would respond to any proposals that we receive in good faith, assuming that they are able to provide for economic growth in a clearly defined economic geography.”
The Tory Minister went on: “We have said that in order to progress this matter we do want to see the Sheffield City Region become fully functioning and the mayor who is now elected able to conduct his duties, which we think is a reasonable way forward so that local people in that area are not let down.”