Could York and North Yorkshire soon go it alone?
That’s the hope of one MP, who today appealed to the Prime Minister to back a devolution deal for the city and the county that surrounds it.
Kevin Hollinrake, the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, tackled Theresa May on the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions today (Wednesday 3 April).
It follows the rejection by the Government of the so-called ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution proposal, which would have seen some powers given from central government to Yorkshire under the control of an elected mayor.
The glorious county
Mr Hollinrake asked Mrs May:
Once the Prime Minister has dealt with the rather tricky issue that is Brexit, will she move on to the much more difficult problem, which is devolution in Yorkshire?
Now that her Secretary of State has ruled out devolution to the whole of Yorkshire, would she now consider a devolution deal to the York city region, to include the city of York and the glorious county of North Yorkshire?
‘Harness people’s enthusiasm’
Theresa May said: “We recognise there is an enthusiasm, there’s a dedication in Yorkshire to the concept of devolution – and to the ability and the potential that devolution has to release and harness local people’s sense of identity with Yorkshire.”
Proposals that suit the area are needed, she added, saying that Communities Secretary James Brokenshire had
“We do need to find the right proposals that will suit the area, and my right honorable friend the Communities Secretary I believe has now met the Yorkshire leaders.
“Discussions are continuing with them about a different localist approach to devolution in Yorkshire from the one that did not meet our criteria, namely the One Yorkshire proposal.”
The ‘One Yorkshire’ deal was backed by City of York Council and 17 other local authorities.
It would have created a Mayor of Yorkshire by 2020. The council said it would created 200K jobs and raised incomes by £500 per person.
In March 2018 a document setting out the vision for One Yorkshire was submitted to the goverment. But it was rejected last month because it didn’t meet the Government’s devolution criteria.