Senior Cabinet Ministers support the idea of one Yorkshire mayor controlling powers and money wrested from Westminster, a leading region-wide devolution supporter has said.
Dan Jarvis also suggested the Treasury was sympathetic to the economic case for One Yorkshire devolution, as outlined in detailed documents supporters submitted to the Government last month, which showed a deal could give the region a £30bn boost.
The Sheffield City Region Mayor’s comments are thought to refer to the likes of Greg Clark and Philip Hammond who have issued positive statements about One Yorkshire in the past
Supporters of Yorkshire-wide devolution are pushing for Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire, who has yet to travel to the region or meet any of the figures involved since getting the job in April, to respond to the documents submitted last month.
Mr Jarvis made his comments at a CBI reception for Yorkshire and Humber MPs and business leaders in Westminster yesterday, hosted by Barclays as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda to stimulate growth across the North.
“We do now have clear economic data which proves the economic case, it proves the value, and I think the Treasury see that and I think that is significant.” the Labour MP said.
Mr Jarvis also repeatedly highlighted the support for One Yorkshire from a cross-party group of 18 out of 20 of the region’s council leaders, as well as “huge support” in the business community and among voters.
“I think Government does have a responsibility to engage with those people, the leaders who brought that forward,” he said.
“And therefore I very much hope that in the near future - because we know that sat around the Cabinet table there are very senior members of the Cabinet who are supportive of this arrangement - I hope that the Secretary of State James Brokenshire, Jake Berry the Northern Powerhouse Minister, will engage with those leaders who have put forward a very substantial case which is worthy of consideration and worthy of a response.”
Mr Jarvis was joined on the panel of the CBI/Barclays event by Tory MP for Shipley Philip Davies and Labour MP and Commons Business Committee chair Rachel Reeves.
Mr Davies outlined his opposition to a One Yorkshire deal, arguing that it will never reconcile differences between different areas of the large and diverse region of more than 5m people.
He said: “In the real world when it comes down to it what people want to know is - is this benefiting my area? That’s the long and short of it.
“My constituents complain about being part of Bradford Council because Bradford Council spends all of its money in Bradford and doesn’t spend any of it in Shipley and Keighley.
“So if you get that kind of resentment in an area just confined to the Bradford district, where one group of people are particularly hacked off because they are not treated fairly in an area just in the Bradford district, just imagine the tensions you are going to get across the whole of Yorkshire.”
But Ms Reeves hit back, saying events like the Tour de France show how Yorkshire can unify in support of the whole region, and that its cities and towns would be united in demanding more investment from Whitehall.
And she added: “I know what you mean, people in Armley will say why is all this money going to Harehills or something like that.
“But at the moment what you get is all the money going to London and the South East and not to Yorkshire, I think that annoys people more.
“Of course there are going to be rivals and tensions between Leeds and Sheffield or York and Harrogate or whatever but what unites all the towns and cities is the real anger and frustration that all the money goes to London and the South East and not to our region.”