YP Comment: Business warning over devolution

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RICHARD Flint’s trenchant – and timely – comments on regional devolution are all the more significant because he’s not a politician.

He’s a respected business leader who knows, from experience, that Yorkshire will be the biggest loser of all if this impasse is not ended.

And when the managing director of Sky Betting and Gaming, a company at the forefront of the region’s digital devolution, warns that Yorkshire “won’t be as competitive as other regions that do have mayors”, Yorkshire’s political leaders do need to take note.

After all, this is an entrepreneur who is finding it increasingly difficult to recruit staff of the right calibre because young people from this region don’t have the core skills that will enable them to flourish in a digital-first economy.

He says Yorkshire is invariably at its best when it pulls together in the same direction, and believes that a directly-elected mayor focusing on transport and skills will transform this region’s future prospects.

Yet, even though there are many politicians who cite these two policy spheres as personal priorities of their own, they’re still unable to agree a framework which meets the county’s needs. In light of Mr Flint’s intervention, there should be a joint meeting of every Yorkshire MP, and council leader, as soon as possible after the June 8 election to agree a fresh start. If not, they will be guilty of putting self-interest before the region’s greater good.