DEVOLUTION for Yorkshire holds out the prospect of infinitely improved governance, by handing decision-making to the people who know more profoundly than any London-based politician what is best for our region.
Yet despite this indisputable truth, progress towards the One Yorkshire deal backed across the county remains frustratingly slow, with Government obfuscation standing in the way of delivering tangible benefits not only for our county, but for the whole country.
Moving the process forward is more than ever necessary, and today’s intervention by the CBI setting out a blueprint for doing so is to be welcomed. Its suggestions are eminently sensible and workable.
Crucially, its proposal to take the politics out of decision-making by handing powers to an independent board able to judge the merits of deals against an agreed framework would remove the tensions between regions and Westminster that have led to so many difficulties.
The business backing for Yorkshire devolution that the CBI represents ought to carry great weight with the Government in its thinking, because the case it makes is starkly illustrative of how the region is losing out.
Disparities in productivity between the best-performing regions and the worst mean that Yorkshire workers are effectively losing £5,000 a year, and closing that gap could add £200bn to the national economy over the next decade. Against the backdrop of uncertainty over Brexit, such a benefit should be uppermost in the minds of ministers.
The CBI is undoubtedly correct in its assertion that devolution would turbocharge Yorkshire’s economy, and that bold and sustained action is now needed to make it happen. The Prime Minister has spoken of his desire to rebalance the economy, and this three-point plan offers a way of doing exactly that.