The Prime Minister Theresa May made the announcement which she said will “empower local businesses to create more, better-paying jobs”.
Each of the combined authorities will receive £50,000 to develop their bids over the next 12 months before a decision is made on which projects get the go-ahead. Those that are successful are likely to include schemes that develop so-called smart technology, or invest in ‘key corridors’ linking urban areas to help boost economic growth and improve accessibility.
The money, which the shortlisted combined authorities will compete for, is part of the Transforming Cities Fund - worth a total of £1.7bn - unveiled last year by the Chancellor Philip Hammond. It should be pointed out, though, that half of this money is already set aside for cities like Manchester and Liverpool that have devolution deals in place and are moving full steam ahead.
Up until now the Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry has been lukewarm at best towards the One Yorkshire devolution plans which have been rebuffed. However, in revealing the shortlisted areas bidding for a share of this money, the Prime Minister made a point of praising Yorkshire’s cities for their “industry and innovation” and highlighted the £1bn committed to the Great North Rail project, as well as the £106m spent on improving the M1 around Sheffield.
Mrs May also referred to the importance of improving vital infrastructure and help encourage growth beyond London. Whether or not the North genuinely benefits from all this only time will tell.