THE REGION’S message to the Prime Minister is that Yorkshire must have more control over its own affairs to ensure it is the centre of the North’s revival.
MPs and business figures responded in their droves to this newspaper’s marking of Yorkshire Day today (August 1) with an open letter to Theresa May.
They back our six-point proposal that requested Mrs May commits to better transpennine transport, educational equality, supports the business community, promotes green energy, provides a secure environment for farming post-Brexit and devolution.
They also took the chance to celebrate the beauty of their own small patch of Yorkshire and paid tribute to the people who inspire them week in, week out.
Labour MP for Halifax Holly Lynch said The Yorkshire Post has the key issues that need addressing in the region “exactly right”.
“A commitment from Theresa May on these important areas would be a great start. In addition I would also want to see a firm commitment to protect our region and elsewhere through a substantial investment in flood defences as well as appropriately funded health care provision which is of course a big issue right across our area,” she said.
Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, Kevin Hollinrake, said Mrs May must address regional transport and infrastructure spending differences as London receives £800 per person a year in transport investment compared to £300 in Yorkshire.
He said: “Yorkshire business people are every bit as good as London but our economy is being held back by reduced levels of spending.”
Devolution would help guide investment on road and rail connections, he added.
Labour MPs are adamant that devolution must mean better jobs and Louise Haigh, representative for Sheffield Heeley, said Yorkshire Day was a chance to reflect on empowering the region and its people.
The Labour politician said: “We are all incredibly proud of our county but for too long it has been overlooked because decisions are being made inside a Westminster bubble.
“We have very different challenges here in Yorkshire than those faced in the wealthy south-east but because power is concentrated in Westminster we don’t have the tools to tackle
She said if devolution is to mean anything, people in Yorkshire should have a much bigger say over the decisions which affect their lives.
She is keen to see more Government offices open in Yorkshire following the shock announcement that the former department for Business, Innovation and Skills was moving many of its staff from Sheffield to London.
“Only then can we build a Northern revival," she added.
Fellow Labour MP Caroline Flint, who has represented the Don Valley since 1997, said she also wants Mrs May to commit to investment and opportunities but that her focus should be beyond the big cities.
She said: “There is more to Yorkshire than York, Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield. Too much of Yorkshire and the Humber feels left behind. If Mrs May believes in ‘a Britain that works for everyone’ this is the test.”
Steven Leigh, head of policy and representation for the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce was another organisation backing The Yorkshire Post’s open letter to Theresa May.
He said: “We just want a fair crack at the whip. Electrification between Huddersfield and Manchester was halted while at the same time spending went ahead on Crossrail in London.
“There is a huge amount of money that gravitates to London and the South East. There is tremendous ambition from the chamber and The Yorkshire Post and everybody in Yorkshire to be treated fairly by central Government.”
Yorkshire's ability to work together in times of crisis stands out as a reason to celebrate Yorkshire Day, Conservative MP Stuart Andrew has said.
The representative for Pudsey said: “Yorkshire has always spoken with one voice as a region, and I’m really proud of what we have all achieved together from things like our response to the floods to saving the Children’s Heart Unit.
"With the greenbelt in Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough I have seen first-hand the real pride that people have for preserving their local areas. While we are made up of small towns and villages, we often speak as one. I am proud to be able to represent such a fantastic region.”
Labour MP Dan Jarvis, who represents Barnsley Central, said: “Yorkshire Day is a great opportunity to celebrate all that is good about our county. Yorkshire is a great place and we are rightly very proud of it. Our county has a fantastic history, great traditions and a bright future – above all, it has amazing people. Yorkshire Day is a day to share this with the rest of the world!”
Sheffield manifesto launched later this week...
WHILE investment and change cannot arrive in Yorkshire soon enough for some, this demand must be tempered with political stability, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce says.
In their business manifesto to be sent to Theresa May on Wednesday, they will say that “now is not the time to go for another election or even another referendum”.
Jill Thomas, President of the Chamber, said that another Scottish independence vote would create uncertainty for businesses deciding whether to invest there and Britain needed to focus on ensuring Brexit goes smoothly.