Supporters of One Yorkshire devolution plan intensive lobbying of government

Supporters of a One Yorkshire devolution deal are planning intensive lobbying of government in the coming months in a bid to persuade Ministers to show a "greater sense of urgency" over the issue of when and how vital powers will be handed to the region.

Supporters of a One Yorkshire devolution deal say it will provide a 30bn boost to the region's economy.
Supporters of a One Yorkshire devolution deal say it will provide a 30bn boost to the region's economy.

Keighley MP John Grogan, chairman of the recently-created One Yorkshire Committee of business, trade union, academic and political leaders, has called for a "clear and agreed plan" to end the month-long devolution deadlock.

The committee, which has met four times, is developing plans for a Spring Conference, a website and intensive lobbying of government to reach an agreement on a the plan which would see powers handed from Whitehall to a Yorkshire-wide mayoral authority.

Its efforts were boosted by a grant of £32,500 from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd, which describes itself as "non-charitable funder of political campaigns in Britain to promote democratic reform, constitutional change and civil liberties".

The Yorkshire Post says: Jake Berry’s Northern devolution plan requires careful scrutinyLast year, the region's political leaders submitted detailed documents setting out the economic case for a One Yorkshire deal.

But Ministers have said that they are not prepared to enter into talks on the subject until the more limited Sheffield City Region deal, which was signed in 2015 but has yet to come into force due to local disagreements, has been implemented in full.

Labour MP Mr Grogan said a series of interim funding deals "negotiated on the road to One Yorkshire" could be a way out of the stalemate in the coming months.

He said: "The lack of progress on Devolution is hurting the people of Yorkshire. The economic case presented to ministers shows that One Yorkshire devolution would result in a £30 billion boost to our economy.

"This would build on the ‘Yorkshire’ brand, increase inward investment, promote exports, and improve transport and skills. However, this will only happen if we take back more control of our destiny from Whitehall and with the Brexit debate ongoing this has never been more urgent or important.

"The Government has still to reply to the detailed proposal put to them by 19 out of 21 of Yorkshire’s locally elected leaders.

"The current devolution deal in Leeds City Region ends within the next year. The Government has emphasised that it wants to see the South Yorkshire Mayoralty assume new powers and funding , and in the parts of Yorkshire not covered by Devolution deals – including Hull, East Yorkshire and parts of North Yorkshire – there is a feeling of missing out.

"We hope to persuade the Government to demonstrate a greater sense of urgency in dealing with this issue. It is only through collaboration, compromise and a clear and an agreed plan that the we will end the current deadlock and help unlock the potential of our great county.

"The One Yorkshire Committee has been formed to make that happen."

This weekend, Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry told a newspaper that Whitehall was considering a proposed a new department for the North with its own tax-raising powers.

In a response, a statement from the 19 leaders backing One Yorkshire said: “In the One Yorkshire devolution proposal, we have a ready-made plan to bring decision-making closer to more than five million people, building on a shared identity and an established global brand.

“As the Northern Powerhouse Minister considers the post-Brexit settlement for the North of England, we hope he and his colleagues in Government will work with us to deliver a devolution deal which could add £30bn a year to the economy of the region, the North and the UK.”