Responding to comments made by former Chancellor George Osborne’s about the progress of devolution in West Yorkshire, the county’s Council Leaders have said:
“All along we have been consistent in our view that genuine devolution, which puts real powers, decision-making and funds in local hands, is vital to boosting West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region’s economy in a way which benefits its people.
“Yesterday’s meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, at which we approved a further £64m of local growth funding to deliver new infrastructure schemes across the City Region showed how we are getting on with the business of delivering devolution.
“The delays that hindered our devolution discussions with former chancellor George Osborne, who has made some unhelpful comments today, have been frustrating. We were extremely keen to achieve a robust and lasting deal, but he did not accept our offer.
“We want the right devolution and accept this might involve a directly elected mayor and we are flexible and pragmatic about what that could mean. It must make sense economically and benefit the people and businesses who live and work within it and, once agreed, stands the test of time.
“We are meeting with Andrew Percy in Leeds today and Leaders from across the region to agree what this could mean.
“Relationships between Leaders within the Leeds City Region and beyond are excellent and we share huge ambition. We are determined to deliver the investment, opportunity and prosperity people and businesses want to see.
“We trust that as we move forward, our relationship with government is constructive and more fertile than it was in the days when George Osborne was part of the Government.”