Devolution Deal would be 'life-changing' for economy

This story was published 26 August 2022

Councillors in North Yorkshire will decide whether Government’s draft devolution deal and the promise of a publicly elected mayor for the region should go forward to the public for consultation.

A general view of the landscape at Reeth in North Yorkshire.

At a meeting of our executive on Tuesday, September 6, members will be asked to agree an eight-week public consultation starting in mid-October. It is an important milestone in seeing the proposed deal become a reality.

Hailed as a “once in a generation” opportunity to halt rural decline and deliver better jobs, training, skills and transport, the draft deal was signed on Yorkshire Day (1 August) in York. Now both York and North Yorkshire councillors are being asked to take it to the next level.

Speaking today, council leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “We are the first region in the country to secure the offer of a good devolution with the promise of a publicly elected mayor which covers not just an urban area but the rural expanse of North Yorkshire.

“I believe the deal on offer would be life-changing for region’s economy. Many challenges we face could become opportunities in a practical way. Joining up skills and training to support people into better paid jobs, kick-starting green economic growth that delivers on the potential of the geography we have.

"Locally led transport and infrastructure strategies and making homes more affordable for people. Together these measures can be a game-changer, with an initial investment pot of £540 million of new Government money available. 

“I have been a huge supporter of the devolution of powers and money from Whitehall to the Town Hall and of local-led decision making set against our own priorities. I have no problem in recommending the acceptance of the draft deal and of asking my executive colleagues to agree a public consultation.”

The final decision on taking the proposals to the public for residents, businesses, groups, organisations and partners for give their views must be a joint one for councillors in York and North Yorkshire.

If public consultation is agreed, it will run through the autumn and close before Christmas to allow the results to be analysed and quality checked by an independent consultation expert. In the new year, York and North Yorkshire councillors would then consider those results and make a decision on a submission back to Government in the spring. The current timeline then outlines the formation of a combined authority for the region in winter 2023, with the public electing a mayor in May 2024.  
     
You can read more about the deal on the Government’s website.

The executive paper can be read on our Council minutes, agendas and reports page.