BUSINESS AND trade union leaders from across the region are today issuing a rare joint statement in support of the One Yorkshire devolution deal. The Institute of Directors, CBI and TUC hope a Yorkshire Day show of unity will end the impasse over the region’s future. It comes as Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, hosts political, business and civic leaders to launch of the next phase of the devolution campaign. And it is boosted by the joint message that the IoD’s regional chairman, Jon Geldart, the CBI’s regional director, Beckie Hart, and the TUC’s regional secretary, Bill Adams, have sent to The Yorkshire Post.
They write: “We support One Yorkshire whose aim is to bring to fruition the plan, backed by 18 Yorkshire councils and the Mayor of South Yorkshire, for One Yorkshire devolution with an elected mayor.
“We believe this would assist growth in the local economy, improving productivity and the creation of good jobs. By uniting as a region, we can ensure Yorkshire’s voice is heard clearly nationally and internationally.
“An elected mayor for Yorkshire would have the power to speak for an area with the scale and influence that could not be ignored by any national government and would be attractive to international partners.
“This would build on a globally recognised brand and an identity shared by all our communities. Yorkshire devolution would enable up to an extra £1bn a year to be spent on local priorities, including public transport, skills and housing. Decisions would be taken closer to where their impact will be felt, lowering costs, boosting efficiency and improving outcomes.”
They add: “This deal offers a pragmatic solution to those councils who want to press ahead with securing a deal, and provides an open line of communication between all parties to ensure continued, and future, collaboration in the interest of growth and prosperity across the entire region.”
The call to arms reflects the frustration of business bosses, and leading politicians, who fear Yorkshire will miss out because government policy favours devolved areas. Now Keighley MP John Grogan and Robert Goodwill, the Tory MP who represents Scarborough and Whitby, intend to turn One Yorkshire into a campaigning organisation with a specific remit to:
Work closely with local councils on the details, and implementation, of One Yorkshire.
Organise awareness-raising public events here, and in Parliament.
Establish a website, a social media presence and a Press strategy to promote One Yorkshire.
Engage with the voluntary sector, faith groups, academia, youth and pensioner groups and civic society.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Dr Sentamu said: “We must work together to step towards a resolution that maximises the benefit to all parts of Yorkshire. Many peoples, boroughs, councils and counties, but One Yorkshire.”