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A historic new devolution deal for West Yorkshire which will see an extra £1.1 billion of funding to boost growth and level up opportunities in the region was agreed today.
A day after delivering the Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak travelled to Leeds to finalise the agreement that will see the creation of a new West Yorkshire Mayor.
The deal will see Westminster hand regional leaders added powers over transport, housing, and skills – part of the Government’s promise to give more power to the regions, level up the UK and lay the foundations for a decade of renewal.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:
We promised to give local communities the powers they need to succeed, and it is great to get the West Yorkshire Devolution Deal done.
We are committed to levelling up opportunities and this extra £1.1 billion of funding and new powers will empower local people to take charge of their future prosperity.
Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said:
This is the largest devolution deal the Government has done, paving the way for an ambitious new era of putting money, power and responsibility in the hands of local people.
Over £1.1 billion of new investment will mean thousands of new jobs, extra homes and better transport links for people across West Yorkshire. I want to see more devolution across Yorkshire, the North and the whole of England as we level up and unleash people’s full potential no matter where they live.
Simon Clarke, Minister of State, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said:
Devolution is at the heart of the Government’s commitment to levelling up across the country and this deal is a huge statement of intent.
Our investment of an additional £1.1 billion will create jobs, boost prosperity and unleash the huge potential of West Yorkshire, benefiting people across the region for generations to come. Over the months ahead, I will enter negotiations with other areas across the country to seek to establish more such mayoralties and give communities greater control over their own futures.
The deal builds on the Budget’s ambitious offer for West Yorkshire, including:
- significant devolved transport and skills funding
- £95 million for the British Library site at Boston Spa, underpinning plans for a new British Library of the North in Leeds
- funding for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- £3.2 million to develop local housing plans.
This move is the latest step in the government’s drive to ensure that all regions and nations benefit from prosperity and have the powers and funding they need to support their area’s growth.
West Yorkshire is due to get its own directly elected region wide mayor in 2021 with powers over transport, housing, planning and skills, giving them the ability to boost their area in the way that best suits them. This is alongside £317 million to transform the region’s transport network and £100 million for flood defences, alongside £25m of funding for the British Library in Leeds.
Taken together the plans represent a comprehensive package of powers and support for West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
The full text of the deal will be published on gov.uk tomorrow (13 March 2020).
This devolution deal builds on the action the government is taking to level up the country, including kickstarting a transport and infrastructure revolution, and giving powers to those who know best in the region. This includes a £5 billion package to transform buses and cycling provision across the country, as well as committing to HS2 to boost North-South rail links, unleashing the economy in the North.