THE election for the Sheffield City Region mayoralty earlier this year was a chance to take a step forward and build on the progress made so far in ensuring that we have more money and powers for our region.
However, this city-region model is riddled with small group decision making and a significant lack of political unity that towns and villages feel does not benefit them or their communities.
Since then, more and more political, education, business and religious leaders have given their backing to the campaign ‘One Yorkshire’ deal – an arrangement that has also been endorsed by the proud people of Barnsley and Doncaster (with overwhelming majorities in both community polls on sound turnouts).
Currently, it now stands that 19 out of 21 council leaders in the Yorkshire region support this as the best form of devolution for our region. This is no accident. One Yorkshire is the deal that will benefit our communities, services and ordinary people of all backgrounds in the tough post-Brexit period that our country is about to face.
Recent figures from IPPR North show an average gap of £2,555 per person in funding for transport in the North compared to spending on transport and infrastructure projects in London.
The most alarming revelation that only £844 per person is spent on transport in Yorkshire compared to the vast figure of £4,155 per person in London.
The message from the People’s Powerhouse Convention in Bradford last week was that we in the North need to take ownership of devolution and be proactive in shaping our own devolution. This way of ‘taking back control’ is one that people across Yorkshire should subscribe to and endorse through backing a One Yorkshire deal more thoroughly.
We must learn the lessons from the failed the bureaucracy of the former county council models and present structures that do not support and facilitate pluralist decision-making,
Instead we should help to develop a Yorkshire that has adequate transport links and connectivity, a Yorkshire in which entrepreneurs have the support to grow business models and ideas into small and medium businesses, a Yorkshire in which homelessness is prevented and a Yorkshire in which we all work together as a co-operative region to ensure that it becomes a prosperous, safe and healthy place to live and work.