Why One Yorkshire failure is my lasting disappointment – Archbishop of York

A FAILURE to deliver One Yorkshire devolution is one of the Archbishop of York’s greatest regrets ahead of his retirement.

The Archbishop of York at the launch of the One Yorkshire campaign on August 1, 2018.

Dr John Sentamu even allowed Bishopthorpe Palace to be used on Yorkshire Day – August 1 – in 2018 for the launch of the campaign.

Those present included Dan Jarvis, who has gone on to become the Sheffield City Region’s mayor – while still committed to delivering the One Yorkshire model.

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But, more recently, West Yorkshire’s five council leaders signed their own devolution deal with the Government a day after the Budget in March – and an election for their first metro mayor will be held next May. And he questions the stance taken by Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake, another who was to the fore at the 2018 event.

A failure to deliver One Yorkshire is one of Dr John Sentamu's biggest regrets.

“That is one great disappointment,” disclosed the 70-year-old who believed that both Labour, and the Liberal Democrats, were fully committed to countywide devolution.

“I’m surprised Leeds accepted (the West Yorkshire deal) that because she, the leader there (Judith Blake), was the engine for One Yorkshire.”

The Archbishop said Yorkshire’s population and wealth is bigger than that of Scotland, and “smaller European states”, and that the region’s economy will suffer if there’s not a more co-ordinated approach to policy-making.

“We didn’t want a Yorkshire republic. We wanted a mayor who could co-ordinate,” he said before citing how the running of neighbouring schools has become so fragmented because of the number of authorities involved.

This, he says, is regrettable. “Just ridiculous,” he adds by way of emphasis and incredulity. “And with different half terms.”

But he hopes One Yorkshire will emerge when there’s a realisation that the fragmented approach currently being pursued leads to missed opportunities.

“I don’t know what the Tories (Boris Johnson) are frightened of,” he adds. “I actually think One Yorkshire as a brand, as we saw with the Tour de France in 2014, the county all looked the same – the commitment, the energy, the industrial reality. This could be the engine that begins to drive a lot of wealth in the North.”

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