The Yorkshire Post says: Government must heed CBI on region’s devolution ambitions

Director general of the CBI Carolyn Fairbairn. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Director general of the CBI Carolyn Fairbairn. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
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IF BRITAIN wants to remain integral to the global economic elite, irrespective of Brexit’s final outcome, the companies that Carolyn Fairbairn – and the CBI – represent will, inevitably, be at the heart of this endeavour. She also knows that each area’s own unique identity has a critical part to play in enhancing the future fortunes of Great Britain plc.

It is why The Yorkshire Post, for one, is so heartened by the strength of her intervention on Yorkshire devolution and the need for Ministers to act in the best interests of county and country alike.

Ms Fairburn’s pledge to throw the weight of the CBI behind Yorkshire’s efforts to get a comprehensive devolution deal over the line is both immensely helpful and a reminder to the Government that the business community supports our region’s ambitions.

As she says, every day which passes without clarity is, without doubt, a wasted day and risks Yorkshire, a county as much synonymous with the Industrial Revolution as it is with the Northern Powerhouse in a more contemporary context, not optimising its capabilities from cutting-edge manufacturing to digital innovation.

And when research says One Yorkshire devolution could be worth up to £30bn a year to the economy if growth is allied to strategies to transform the area’s skills proposition, it is all the more disappointing – and perplexing – that Ministers are so reluctant to welcome, and embrace, the opportunity that has been created by political, civic and business leaders working together.

They now owe this region an explanation for their resistance. Just because this policy agenda is emanating from Yorkshire, rather than Whitehall, doesn’t make it any less compelling. Quite the opposite. It makes it even more valid because it is being driven by people who know what it will take to get the job done here.