From: Chris Whitwood, Deputy Leader, Yorkshire Party.
I WAS recently invited to attend a debate on Yorkshire devolution. In that hour, the leaders of Sheffield and Rotherham Councils attempted to argue the economic benefits of a Sheffield City Region over a whole Yorkshire deal. There was just one minor issue – no one actually said anything about devolution.
Devolution is not about creating another layer of petty bureaucratic government. It is about giving local people greater powers and funding to improve their local area and the lives of those who live there.
Sheffield City Region is not devolution. It is, despite the bravado and grandiose titles, nothing more than unambitious, minor economic decentralisation. The promise of £900m sounds a lot.
However, it is expected to be spread over three decades. The resultant £30m a year pales into insignificance when compared to the annual £15.8bn received by the Greater London Authority.
As do the proposed powers that would be available to a Sheffield City Region mayor. Greater Manchester’s devolution deal included £300m for housing alone; powers over policing; and control of a £6bn health and social care budget.
Yorkshire desperately needs someone who will speak up for our future.