WHAT makes the Government’s resistance to One Yorkshire so frustrating is a reluctance to match the ambition shown by political, business and community leaders.
Famously accused by David Cameron of being too parochial, there is a discernible unity of purpose while Ministers like James Brokenshire and Jake Berry have become more provincial with their stance.
Take Mr Berry, the Northern Powerhouse Minister, and his inference that a joined-up approach to policy-making here is not necessary because people do not travel between ‘city-regions’ for work purposes. Try telling that, Minister, to the 50,000 people who commute between South and West Yorkshire each day. Even more would if the road and rail network had the capability and capacity.
Or there is Mr Brokenshire’s obscure view, expressed by the Communities Secretary in a letter to Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis, that One Yorkshire is “novel”. Why? Because, in his view, it “focuses on an area that is far greater than any past local administrative area for Yorkshire”. What is wrong with maximising the potential of a region which is proud of its identity and home to 5.2 million people?
Some might conclude that Mr Brokenshire does not want Yorkshire to become too successful because he is also the Government’s Midlands Engine Champion and led a trade delegation to India last October in this capacity. But he could not be more mistaken. This region wants such Ministers leading similar missions on Yorkshire’s behalf – and that should be the objective. And he still has this within his gift if he, and his team, appreciate the opportunity that does still exist.