Jarvis voices devolution fears over mayors

BARNSLEY MP Dan Jarvis has questioned the Government's commitment to giving Yorkshire more control over its own affairs after it emerged new prime minister Theresa May is concerned about creating new '˜metro-mayors'.

Dan Jarvis

Mr Jarvis warned the Government against allowing plans for new elected mayors to go ahead in Manchester and Merseyside but not do the same in Yorkshire.

Mrs May’s apparent reservations about elected mayors, which were championed by former chancellor George Osborne, has raised questions over the future of the devolution deal covering South Yorkshire.

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The deal, struck with Mr Osborne last year, paved the way for powers and money to be transferred from Whitehall to the region in return for the creation of a new mayor to be elected in May 2017.

The uncertainty over mayors follows questions over whether Mrs May will continue other policies pursued by the Government under David Cameron including the so-called ‘northern powerhouse’ plan to revive the economy of the North of England.

Mr Jarvis said: “This is worrying and calls into question the government’s commitment to devolution. Along with the watering down of the Northern Powerhouse this represents a double whammy to the people of Yorkshire andthe Humber.

“We should not have a situation where Greater Manchester and Merseyside are given Mayors but they are denied to the great cities and regions of Yorkshire and the Humber.”

The suggestion Mrs May may ditch elected mayors has been welcomed by some in the region who have argued they should not be forced on areas as the price to pay for devolution.

However, others have cautioned that the removal of mayors could be a cover for a broader watering down of the Government’s moves to allow areas take more decisions in areas such as transport.