Budget 2016: Budget increases pressure on Yorkshire devolution

THE CHANCELLOR piled the pressure on parts of Yorkshire yet to agree devolution '˜deals' with the Government has he offered new powers to those already signed up.

Peter Box

Mr Osborne promised Greater Manchester powers on justice matters and London’s Mayor will be given control over business rates next year, three years earlier than planned for other parts of the country.

The moves will add weight to the argument of those who claim West, North and East Yorkshire are in danger of falling behind other parts of the country which have agreed devolution deals.

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South Yorkshire has already reached an agreement which will see it acquire new powers in areas such as transport in skills in return for creating a new elected ‘metro mayor’ who will take office next year.

West Yorkshire councils have been pursuing a ‘Leeds City Region’ deal involving themselves and some North Yorkshire neighbours but other authorities want to see a ‘Greater Yorkshire’ agreement covering the whole of West, North and East Yorkshire.

Coun Peter Box, chairman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “It is, of course, disappointing the Chancellor made no mention of the progress we have made on the Leeds City Region devolution deal and the proposals we have in place, which this week received widespread support from senior local business, further education and higher education leaders.

“However, we will continue working towards securing the right deal for the City Region, which means one that enables us to build upon what we have already done to fuel economic growth and generate new jobs by targeting resources to support local companies and help people gain the skills to meet the needs of both existing and new businesses.”

Talks have taken place in recent days in a renewed effort to end the deadlock.