Hull and East Riding devolution talks won't start until after May local elections, says Minister Luke Hall

Talks between political leaders in Hull and the East Riding and the Government over a possible devolution deal are not likely to start until after May's local elections, a Minister has revealed.

Local Government Minister Luke Hall told the Commons that his department would be responding "very shortly" to the submission made by the two areas bidding for a host of new powers and up to £1.6bn in extra funding.

The document submitted in October could see a new elected metro mayor and a mayoral authority dedicated to economic growth in place by 2022, giving Hull and the East Riding devolution powers similar to other areas in the North such as West and South Yorkshire.

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Talks between political leaders in Hull and the East Riding and the Government over a possible devolution deal are not likely to start until after May's local elections, a Minister has revealed.

East Riding leader Richard Burton revealed in December that local officials had yet to get a response back from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

And in the Commons yesterday, Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy asked Mr Hall "where we are at with regards to opening up negotiations with Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire council to get East Yorkshire devolution moving forwards?".

The Conservative MP added: "Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire council submitted their bid for East Yorkshire devolution some months ago, in that was included a request for full allocation for the Goole Town Deal bid but I digress on that point."

Mr Hall replied that the Government had "a clear commitment to give more power to local communities providing opportunity across the country".

He said: "We want to build on the over 50 per cent of the North now covered by our devolution deals with a new deal in West Yorkshire signed in Parliament just last month.

"We welcomed the devolution proposal from Hull and East Yorkshire, and my department will be responding very shortly with a view to further formal engagement with the councils following the local government elections, but I'm always happy to meet my honourable friend to talk about this in great depth."

It comes as the Government's commitment to handing powers and resources to local leaders is increasingly called into question. Its devolution White Paper setting out its vision in this area has been delayed several times and last month Bolris Johnson said devolution had been a "disaster" in Scotland.

Local leaders in the East Riding and Labour-run Hull had originally hoped to join forces with councils in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire as part of a pan-Humber agreement. But the two south bank authorities decided to align with the rest of Lincolnshire instead.

The Hull and East Riding document says that social cohesion is "relatively strong" across the population of 600,000, which is evenly split between the city of Hull and the surrounding area and more than 300 market and coastal towns, villages and hamlets.

But the average annual salary is only 87 per cent of the national figure and the relative lack of higher paid jobs limits the area's ability to retain and attract high skilled workers.

It is hoped that with the help of the extra funding currently under the control of government new programmes can be set up which will improve access to jobs for young people and stop poverty from being passed down the generations.

Leaders want to work with the Department of Work and Pensions to set up a Young People’s Work Guarantee Programme for Hull worth £15m a year.

This would include setting up an 'active labour market model' in Hull where state programmes intervene in the labour market to help the unemployed find work, as well as providing start-up and micro-finance to young entrepreneurs and wrap-around support for vulnerable families and children.