MINISTERS will be asked to pick between a patchwork of plans to devolve powers from Whitehall to Yorkshire after six separate proposals were presented to the Government today.
Two of the plans cover South Yorkshire councils working with their north Derbyshire and north Nottinghamshire neighbours and North and North East Lincolnshire joining a Greater Lincolnshire bid.
The remaining four proposals all involve the authorities in West, North and East Yorkshire in various combinations reflecting the inability to find agreements that satisfy all sides.
George Osborne had asked for areas wanting to take on more powers over their own affairs to put together outline bids by today.
The Government is promising to give significant devolution deals to areas which agree to adopt elected mayors.
In the most surprising move, Hull decided to put forward its own devolution proposal effectively asking Ministers to order the Leeds City Region - West Yorkshire councils and some of their neighbours - to accept the city as part of its plans after an earlier approach was rebuffed.
Hull City Council leader Stephen Brady said: “Devolution is not just about economics - it’s about people, place, community and belonging. From the Yorkshire dialect to cricket, the Tour de Yorkshire, rugby league and the football rivalry across our region, Hull is Yorkshire and needs enabling to play its full role as an integral part of the region and the Northern Powerhouse.”
Ministers have repeatedly insisted they want areas to come up with their own plans for devolution rather than have them imposed from Whitehall.
But the web of proposals submitted today suggests Ministers will be forced to pick winners and losers from the Yorkshire bids.
The bid documents call on the Government to give areas freedoms to raise taxes to invest in infrastructure, to be in charge of local roads and railways and take responsibility for skills and apprenticeships, among others.
One of the major dividing lines is between supporters of devolved powers being handed to a ‘Greater Yorkshire’ stretching from Halifax to Hull taking in the whole of North Yorkshire and those who want to see the Leeds City Region - West Yorkshire with Harrogate, Craven, Selby and York - go it alone.
A senior council figure told The Yorkshire Post that there was growing confidence Ministers will back the Leeds City Region approach.
North Yorkshire, East Riding and York’s council leaders have all backed a Greater Yorkshire plan submitted yesterday but have also handed in a stand-alone proposal covering the three authorities and North Yorkshire districts.
North Yorkshire County Council leader Carl Les said: “North Yorkshire, together with the City of York and East Riding of Yorkshire are a rich mix of urban, rural and coastal areas and offer great opportunities to help meet shared local and national challenges, most notably the north-south productivity gap and the transformation of public services.”
The Yorkshire Post is hosting a debate on devolution to the region in Leeds on September 17 featuring a panel of key figures and experts. For the opportunity to be in the audience email firstname.lastname@example.org and suggest a question for the panel.