Chamber announces big devolution debate

2 September 2015

The merits of regional and local devolution and the potential benefits for Yorkshire businesses will be discussed at the next meeting of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

The Big Devolution Debate will hear from politicians and business leaders from around Harrogate and North Yorkshire, giving their views on the prospects for sharing power with the region and aiming to encourage the business community to either support or oppose the plans.

Among those invited to speak are North Yorkshire County Council leader Coun Carl Les, Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan, Harrogate Borough Council leader Coun Richard Cooper, and the leader of the opposition, Coun Pat Marsh. The audience will be able to ask questions of the speakers and to debate the benefits and disadvantages of changing the current structure of local, regional and national government.


Chamber Chief Executive Brian Dunsby said:

The issue of devolution is one which is increasingly being discussed here in Yorkshire, and many local businesses around Harrogate are taking a keen interest.

Whether it is an elected mayor for Yorkshire, more unitary authorities, or simply more power for existing councils, there seem to be many options on the table.

We want to share the facts with local businesses and then gauge their views on which options would be best for them, so we can continue to fight for the best deal for people working in the Harrogate District.


The Big Devolution Debate takes place at the Majestic Hotel, Ripon Road, Harrogate, on Monday, 14 September 2105. Informal networking opens at 5.30pm, with the meeting beginning at 6.15pm.

Also on the agenda is a discussion about the proposed changes to fire service cover in Harrogate, with representatives from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and the Fire Brigades Union both presenting their views. The debate will have the added significance of being held in the Majestic Hotel, which was itself the scene of a major fire in 2010.

The meeting is open to any business people who wish to attend. It is free for Chamber members and first-time visitors. Anyone who has visited as a guest before can do so again at a cost of £15 per person.

To book a place, email,

More details of the agenda and speakers can be found on the Chamber website at

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