Yorkshire Post Says: Cost of delays on devolution

THE imperative of getting a devolution deal for Yorkshire done as quickly as possible is further underlined today by the uncomfortable finding that without it, our region's economy is taking a massive hit.

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This warning by the Local Government Association that Yorkshire is losing out on millions echoes the concerns of many in the business community who have expressed frustration at the political wrangling which for so long deadlocked attempts to put together a workable devolution deal.

Happily, rivalries have now been set aside, and work is proceeding on a One Yorkshire basis, with a meeting of the local authorities that comprise the “Coalition of the Willing” last week instructing officers to start practical steps towards turning the ambition into reality.

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Nevertheless, the LGA’s warning is a further reminder that Yorkshire is currently at a disadvantage to areas such as Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Tees Valley, which are already reaping the benefits of devolution.

Indeed, just how far behind those areas this region has fallen is underlined by the fact that Yorkshire will not be represented at today’s meeting between metro mayors and the Chancellor, Philip Hammond.

There is every possibility that Mr Hammond will offer help to the devolved areas, and it is an unpalatable thought that Yorkshire is losing out on increased investment.

Yet there are grounds for optimism. Mr Hammond is visiting Leeds and has the opportunity to offer encouragement to the One Yorkshire plan, which he should take.

The region has finally overcome its difficulties in producing a workable deal, and the Government should respond in kind by pledging its support and help in making it happen. In turn, the Yorkshire representatives meeting Mr Hammond should give him a clear message that the region is now proceeding with a sense of urgency and purpose towards devolution.