Shortly after receiving a detailed economic study suggesting a ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution deal could give the region a £30bn boost, Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry said in October it would take time for the Government to properly assess the report to determine its feasibility before coming back with a response.
Regional leaders may similarly now wish to apply their own critical assessment of Mr Berry’s own proposals in a newspaper interview for the formation of a new Government department for the North of England which would be allowed to set its own tax rates.
Before such an idea could ever come to fruition - which given the extent to which the Government and Parliament are gridlocked by Brexit is questionable - specific information around intended powers, governance and delivery would have to be forthcoming in the same way that has been demanded of, and delivered by, proponents of a One Yorkshire devolution deal.
However, despite the lack of specifics around his new proposals, Mr Berry’s latest comments do improve the case for Yorkshire devolution as he deployed many of the same arguments for extra powers that have already been made for this region of over five million people.
“A big complaint is that money is being invested more in London and the South than in the North,” he said, before adding that “Northerners who voted for Brexit don’t want those powers to be taken from the EU and stop at Whitehall” and that devolution will help drive the country’s economy forward after Brexit.
Most notably, he stated that every region across the North should have its own bespoke devolution deal. The question remains on how that would work in practice but it would be churlish not to welcome this sensible approach to unlocking the full potential of Yorkshire and the North.