From: John P Hall, Yorkshire Party, Harrogate.
WE welcome Michael Heseltine’s views (The Yorkshire Post, January 13). A politician with a wealth of experience seems to agree with an all of Yorkshire devolution deal.
The UK is leaving the EU and the Government is confident that it will secure a satisfactory deal to secure the best interests of the nation. As we enter a post-Brexit era, according to the Bank of England and many business organisations, the UK will suffer serious economic disadvantages regardless of the deal we negotiate. The North of England, Yorkshire in particular, is more dependent on trade with the EU than any other part of the UK.
The Government will be well aware that the deprived areas of the UK, including Yorkshire, are the very reason why we have Brexit in the first place. The voters from these areas decided that anything must be better than the status quo.
The last general election called by Theresa May didn’t go as the Government anticipated. The deprived areas yet again voted for change and Labour did better than expected. Theresa May’s government understandably seems totally occupied with negotiating Brexit. However, attention should also be paid to life after Brexit, including, of course, the next general election. No doubt the North of England and the Millennials will have a big say in the outcome.
Business will have to quickly adjust by looking abroad for fresh opportunities. However, business will turn to the Government to take the lead and devise a new development strategy for economic growth.
The Government will need to show initiative and have a comprehensive, radical plan to minimise the difficulties of leaving the EU, and perhaps part of the answer to this is autonomy to the regions, acting as a catalyst for post-Brexit growth.
Devolution is quite a hot topic in the UK right now and, although it is often assumed that progress is being made through the appointment of city mayors, in reality, this is a misguided approach to giving regions the real power they need. This current method of operation divides the regions and leaves the smaller towns on the margins.
EU development funds currently being invested in the most deprived areas of the UK will have to be replaced after Brexit. There is no better way of investing in these regions than appointing local assemblies run by local people. When public opinion is tested, such as the recent Doncaster and Barnsley public polls, there is an overwhelming support for a one deal solution for Yorkshire.