THE FUTURE direction – and leadership – of this region depends in no small part on Cabinet minister James Brokenshire’s response to the independent report which concluded that One Yorkshire devolution could, potentially, be worth up to £30bn a year to the region.
Yet support for a countywide devolution deal is growing and Lib Dem peer Baroness Pinnock suggested in the House of Lords that Ministers were becoming “frightened of the size of Yorkshire” and its potential power. She could be onto something.
And then there’s the intervention of Josh Hardie, the deputy director general of the CBI. A national business leader observing the debate from afar, he believes the economic data in support of One Yorkshire is “very compelling” and there now needs to be a focus on “one solution”.
This is already happening thanks to Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, who has brought political, business and civic leaders together to develop a policy prospectus that answers every question asked of the Government.
The bigger challenge is actually persuading Mr Brokenshire to engage with the process when he remains so aloof and defers to others. Appointed nearly six months ago at the end of April, he’s still to visit Yorkshire to meet local leaders. He should do so. And, if not, One Yorkshire needs to make its case even more effectively to Chancellor Philip Hammond in the hope that he pulls rank because of his seniority. He has been previously sympathetic to devolution and will not need reminding of the very simple fact that a resurgent Yorkshire is also in the national economic interest.