DEVOLUTION is an issue of supreme importance to Yorkshire. The hopes and aspirations of our region for the brightest possible economic future depend on it.
That is why a note of concern must be sounded on today’s report by the Institute for Government that warns Brexit will mean Britain needs to go back to the drawing board on devolved government once we leave the European Union.
Although the report focusses on the future financial arrangements affecting Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, there are clear implications for regional devolution as well, not least in the areas of the environment, agriculture and fisheries, all of which are of immense significance to Yorkshire.
Any wrangles over how funding is shared out after Brexit need to be resolved rapidly, and crucially, the future shape of financial arrangements must not be allowed to stand in the way of a devolution deal for Yorkshire being agreed as soon as possible.
There have already been far too many delays over the granting of devolved powers to this region, with the result that it is losing out to other areas in terms of both funding and the ability to shape our future.
It is incumbent upon the Governmentto proceed rapidly with the One Yorkshire proposal and give this region the deal it both demands and deserves. Indeed, the Institute for Government’s call for Brexit to be used as an opportunity to overhaul devolved arrangements offers the chance to aid the cause of regional devolution, by rebalancing the way that funding is shared out.
That provides the ideal opportunity to give Yorkshire a fairer deal. Above all, though, the report is yet another reminder that for Brexit to succeed, the regions need to be firing on all economic cylinders, and for us to do so, we need devolved powers.