Proposals for a devolution deal to allow some key decision-making powers while bringing investment to York and North Yorkshire have been unveiled.
- £540million over 30-years represents £18million per year for the county, including York
- County Council budgeted spend is around £1.4billion per year
- Confusion if this is truly greater powers for North Yorkshire or if it places North Yorkshire under more control of central government
- Appointment of a mayor places great control over the county to one individual
- Levelling up isn’t really levelling-up if the direction comes from central government, and additional budget comes with conditions
The proposed 30-year devolution agreement would deliver funding for some key policies and strategies, such as roads and public transport, education, job opportunities, the economy and to tackle climate change.
The planned agreement has been provisionally agreed with the Government.
Devolution is a key policy of the Conservative Government, they say “handing over decision-making powers to local political leaders and providing millions of pounds in funding to shape hugely important policies and projects on a regional level”
The deal for York and North Yorkshire would see the introduction of a mayor for the region, and would lead a mayoral combined authority and forge close links with Ministers in the Government, as well as civil servants in Whitehall.
The proposed deal provides the opportunity to invest an £18 million mayoral gain share each year and the mayor would also have access and influence to new and greater funding for the region.
The mayor, who would be elected in May 2024 if the proposed deal comes to fruition, would lead a new powerful combined authority that would oversee key strategic projects ranging from major transport improvements to providing more affordable housing and boosting skills and education for York and North Yorkshire.
North Yorkshire County Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said:
The chance to secure a wide range of decision-making powers as well as bringing in millions of pounds of investment for North Yorkshire is a huge opportunity for us all to shape our own future for many years to come.
It will make a real difference to the hundreds of thousands of people who live and work in North Yorkshire, driving future prosperity and much better opportunities that are so important to everyone.
Whether it is improving skills and education, bringing in more investment to the region or helping improve transport links and providing much-needed affordable housing, the proposed deal would enable us to take far greater control of our own destinies.
An elected mayor representing both York and North Yorkshire would be a powerful figure to have a seat at the table for further negotiations with the Government, bringing real and tangible benefits to the region.
Helen Simpson OBE, Chair of York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
Devolution has the potential to unlock so many opportunities for our economy. This long-term investment will create significant economic opportunity and provides a chance to both address our challenges and realise the potential of York and North Yorkshire.
We are the first genuinely city region and rural powerhouse deal and I look forward to the opportunity of working with the Mayor and our local leaders to make York and North Yorkshire greener, fairer and stronger.
The mayor will take on role and functions of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
Integration of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Y&NY LEP) into York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.
This will ensure there continues to be a strong and independent local business voice which informs local decision-making.
Councils representing the City of York and North Yorkshire will remain, working to deliver vital services to residents with the combined authority having the responsibility for an over-arching vision.
A submission to pursue a devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire was submitted to the Government in 2020, and formal negotiations began at the start of this year.