New mayor will pave the way for benefits felt for decades to come

Our council leader has said that the election of a new mayor is set to prove a “defining moment” to bring benefits to hundreds of thousands of people and place the county firmly on the national stage.

David Skaith has been elected as the mayor for York and North Yorkshire and will be responsible for overseeing more decision-making powers and millions of pounds in additional funding to the region.

The new mayor and council leader

He will co-ordinate a long-awaited devolution deal for the region and spearhead the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, which launched on February 1, to introduce benefits ranging from new and better-paid jobs and improved skills and training to more affordable housing.

Council leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “The election of the mayor is so important for both York and North Yorkshire, as it will mean residents and businesses will see a wide range of benefits realised through devolution.

“This will bring more decision-making to a local level and away from Westminster, giving us the chance to make a real difference to communities across York and North Yorkshire.

“It is a defining moment as the mayor will be able to champion the region and build a close working relationship with the Government, bringing even more decision-making powers and additional funding as the devolution deal evolves.”

David began his new role this week on Tuesday, 7 May, following an election which was staged on 2 May.

The result was announced the following day at the Harrogate Convention Centre after counts were staged in the North Yorkshire spa town as well as Northallerton, Scarborough and York.

Mayor David Skaith celebrating

David said: “I’m honoured to take on the role of Mayor for York and North Yorkshire. I’m looking forward to working with North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council and seeing what we can achieve together to make a difference for communities across York and North Yorkshire.

“This new role of mayor, and the launch of the combined authority, present a great deal of opportunities to the region. We can attract new investment, and tackle keys areas such as affordable housing and transport.

“This is just the start, and yet I'm keenly aware that the challenges faced for rural communities will be different to those faced by communities on the coast or in towns such as Selby or Richmond.

“It’s vital I understand how as the mayor I can add value to the region as a whole whilst ensuring that the impacts reach into local areas.

“I take the responsibility very seriously and I want to ensure that we get this right and deliver benefits to communities now and for the future.”

David will continue work that is already under way on projects including £12.7 million to deliver up to 800 new homes on brownfield sites and a further £10 million to support the transition to net zero, unlocking economic opportunity, empowering business growth and creating new and better paid jobs.

The devolution deal includes an investment fund totalling £540 million over a 30-year term.

While other devolution deals have secured additional funding for specific projects ranging from housing-building to transport improvements and boosting education and skills, the investment fund is seen as one of the key elements of any agreement as it provides flexibility to target money to specific schemes on a more local level.

David has also taken on the responsibilities of the police, fire and crime commissioner for York and North Yorkshire.

The commissioner was responsible for holding the chief constable as well as the chief fire officer to account and ensuring their services are efficient and effective.

The commissioner set policing and crime priorities and oversees the police budget. The commissioner also supported community safety activities and provides victims of crime with a range of services, as well as setting priorities in the fire and rescue plan and overseeing the brigade’s budget.

See more information on the mayor, the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority and the region’s devolution deal.