'Dash for devolution' as Ministers hold talks with all four parts of Yorkshire this week amid hopes of a fresh breakthrough

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Devolution in Yorkshire could take a major step forward this week as government Ministers hold talks with leaders from all parts of the region over the potential transfer of powers from Whitehall.

The meetings due to take place with politicians from South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, the East Riding and Hull and North Yorkshire and the City of York in the coming days could finally see the region emulate the devolution agreements achieved elsewhere in the North.

Ministers are set for devolution talks with leaders from all parts of Yorkshire this week. Stock image.

Ministers are set for devolution talks with leaders from all parts of Yorkshire this week. Stock image.

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson publicly promising to 'level up' the country and hand more powers to metro mayors following his election success in the North, hopes are high of progress after a lull in the devolution agenda during Theresa May's premiership.

Read more: Yorkshire devolution bid can 'learn the lessons from regional assemblies' failure in 2004'

Read more: Breakthrough in South Yorkshire devolution deal as Government and local leaders finally sing from the same hymn sheet

Leaders in the Sheffield City Region meet today to formally launch a public consultation into its £30m-a-year devolution deal following a long-awaited breakthrough earlier this month.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry. Pic: PA

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry. Pic: PA

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis and the leaders of Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster have agreed a way forward with central government to a deal which could include a mayoral tax, a deputy mayor, extra powers on public transport and the ability to keep 100 per cent of business rates.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick will be in Sheffield for talks with Mr Jarvis today but is not expected to attend the public meeting where the consultation is formally approved.

Tomorrow leaders from the East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull and North Lincolnshire councils will travel to London for talks with Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry, though an agreement on the best way forward is still yet to be reached.

While Hull City Council leader Steve Brady wants a deal which includes the four councils around the Humber estuary, North Lincolnshire and North-East Lincolnshire are understood to prefer linking up with other authorities in Lincolnshire.

On Wednesday Mr Berry will join Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke in Leeds for talks with West Yorkshire leaders, which were haltedl last year by the recent General Election.

And on Friday he is hoping to meet leaders from North Yorkshire and the City of York, though this will depend on the details of the proposed Cabinet meeting to be held in an undisclosed location in the North of England on the day the UK leaves the European Union.

Though the prospect of a One Yorkshire devolution deal has receded, the Government has agreed to help set up a Committee of Leaders from across Yorkshire, based on the existing Yorkshire Leaders Board, to tackle issues which can be dealt with at a region-wide level.

Mr Berry told The Yorkshire Post: “The Prime Minister has promised full devolution across England and it’s my personal mission to ensure we deliver that promise.

“In my role as Cabinet Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, I’m working across government to ensure we’re doing everything we can to level up opportunity and repay that confidence we were given at the ballot box.

“I am delighted to say we are in discussions with all four corners of Yorkshire to see if we can agree ambitious new devolution deals allowing us to transfer power, money and responsibility back to Yorkshire.

“Devolution is working incredibly well in Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Tees Valley and I want the people of Yorkshire to feel its benefits too.

“This new dash for devolution will mean no area in the Northern Powerhouse will be left behind.“

Ahead of Wednesday's meeting, West Yorkshire officials are also involved in behind-the-scenes talks with civil servants over what a devolution deal could look like, with hopes high due to the perceived change of tone by the Government.

But it is understood that they will not just accept any deal offered for a transfer of powers and resources from Whitehall and will be seeking an agreement which delivers on local priorities.

They also want the funding made available as part of any deal to reflect the fact that other areas of the country such as Greater Manchester and the Tees Valley have had devolution for longer.

And Communities Secretary Mr Jenrick has written to the five council leaders in the county advising them to start formal negotiations with the Government.

He wrote: “I have long been committed to agreeing a devolution deal for Leeds and West Yorkshire.

"The potential of the region is enormous and the ambition to unlock new powers and investment, to bring more jobs, better transport and opportunities for the people of Leeds and West Yorkshire, is one I know you and I are both determined to realise.

“Let me leave you in no doubt about the energy and determination with which the Government and I will approach these discussions and my personal commitment to reaching an agreement.

“I want to usher in a new era of devolution right across the country, and I have instructed officials in my department to work with you at pace so we can swiftly reach a deal to drive growth, deliver investment and level up the region.”