Plans for greater powers in the Harrogate district took a step forward today with the submission of devolution bids to Government.
Currently, most spending decisions affecting the Harrogate district are made by central Government. However, the Government is actively offering local authorities in England the chance to have greater control over decisions and spending in their region by taking it away from central Government departments and ministries and giving it to areas with a combined authority and a directly elected mayor.
Harrogate Borough Council has been involved in discussions with other local authorities on what this means from a local perspective and what actions could be taken at district, county and regional levels.
The council has expressed an interest in being part of three devolution bids for the region including a City of York, North Yorkshire and East Riding bid; a Leeds City Region proposal and Greater Yorkshire bid, all of which have been submitted to Government today (4 September 2015). Initial proposals will now be discussed in detail with the Government over the autumn, during which time the extent of devolution on offer will become clearer.
Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council said:
Our district has a lot to gain from devolution. It will allow us to have greater power and more control on decisions which will affect our community.
We have conducted lengthy negotiations and considered a number of options available for the Harrogate district. Each of the three devolution bids provide the opportunity for significant investment in infrastructure, greater control over transport infrastructure and would provide a strong environment in which to grow the local economy.
I believe that a devolution deal for a Greater Yorkshire is the best option. The Yorkshire brand is well-known both nationally and internationally and being in the centre of the region means we are well-placed to benefit from it. However, all three bids offer many positive proposals, all of which we will be examining carefully.
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