After meeting in York on Thursday 9 March, Council Leaders from across Yorkshire released the following statement:
A range of devolution options were discussed including an option described as the ‘ambitious approach’ a devolution deal for the whole of Yorkshire. A Yorkshire deal with one Mayor but a number of Combined Authorities delivering economic focus in an area.
“Most Yorkshire Local Government Leaders, including those from North Lincolnshire, met in York today. They unanimously agreed that there is great benefit in the Yorkshire brand, which could be further capitalised on for the good of our people. Leaders agreed that they could and should continue to collaborate, ensure that they meet regularly as a Yorkshire Leaders Board, and that discussions should take place with the Government to explore all of the possible options for local decision making.
“They agreed that Yorkshire should have a strong voice in the Brexit negotiations. Leaders will engage with business, MPs and partners to make sure that our voice is heard on a clear set of priorities.”
The meeting papers pointed out the fact that Yorkshire, an area with a strong shared identity and a 5m population Yorkshire devolution could deliver a Yorkshire ‘Premium’, including £125m per annum, ‘gain-share’ over 30 years. This would result in the county’s economy being £100 billion larger than it otherwise would have been and in just 10 years, would mean everyone in Yorkshire could be nearly £600 per annum better off.
During the meeting, Yorkshire leaders also be considered Brexit’s likely impacts on migration, trade, regulation, and it fiscal effects and how best to meet these challenges going forward. Stronger and better-able together than apart.
Coalition of the willing
Before the meeting, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair Cllr Peter Box said: “Tomorrow’s meeting is about identifying a committed ‘coalition of the willing’ who are keen to work together to resolve issues we are facing. Devolution and Brexit will affect our local economy and Yorkshire’s role at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse enormously."
Leaders of approaching 20 Yorkshire councils attended the meeting although apologies were received from a number of Councils including Sheffield and Rotherham.