Wanted: An outstanding mayor for West Yorkshire – The Yorkshire Post says

EVEN though the West Yorkshire devolution deal confirmed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak is provisional, its scope is such that it will almost certainly be endorsed by local councils in time for the election of a mayor in May next year.

West Yorkshire council leaders celebrate the area's devolution deal.

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This is why a West Yorkshire devolution deal has taken so long to arrive

Indicative of the compromises made by all sides after the election, and the view that regional deals like this can be the stepping stone to One Yorkshire in the fullness of time, public engagement will still be key.

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It means setting out clearly and concisely to West Yorkshire’s residents how the devolved powers will work in practice and not lead to an additional tier of bureaucracy stifling innovation and investment. There’s much to learn from the impressive example being set by Dan Jarvis in Sheffield City Region.

Chancellor Rishi SDunak set out a West Yorkshire devolution deal in the Budget.

But, more crucially, there’s a chance to use the next year to encourage outstanding individuals from both the private and public sectors to stand for office.

If West Yorkshire is to become the national powerhouse that the region strives to be, it means convincing the best and most able that this is one of the biggest and best jobs in local government – and that the mayor will be able to use their financial and policy powers to make a lasting difference.

And while a number of council leaders, and former MPs, are said, at this early stage, to have their eyes on the job, this paper, for one, hopes that sufficient pragmatic, sensible candidates with integrity and ambition come forward in the coming weeks.

For, if they do, the quality of the resulting debate will enhance, not diminish, public engagement and – in time – the future quality of the mayoralty. Over to you.