WHEN The Yorkshire Post joined forces with other regional newspapers to launch the Power Up the North campaign back in June, one of the central aims was to urge politicians to deliver a fundamental shift in decision-making out of London and give devolved powers and self-determination to the people of this region.
The importance of that call being heeded has now been underlined by an independent inquiry into the UK’s significant regional inequalities by the UK2070 Commission chaired by Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service and a previous chief executive at Sheffield City Council.
The inquiry has warned deep-rooted economic divides will worsen without changes to long-running strategic failings in regional policy, and added that a co-ordinated plan to more fairly share power and investment would allow for more sustainable growth in London as well as benefitting regional economies to fulfil their untapped potential.
As Lord Kerslake puts it: “The Power Up the North campaign pointed to a real appetite for progress and the need for a more effective way of unlocking that potential. Too many decisions about Yorkshire and the North are being taken in Whitehall when more progress would be made by regionally-owned solutions.”
The Government can have no excuse if it does not respond with effective action. There are many steps that can be taken but the acceleration of devolution and the introduction of a Northern Powerhouse Minister to the Cabinet does, in fairness, represent a much-needed start on the road to a better future for all.