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Barnsley and Doncaster voters back Yorkshire-wide devo deal

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Residents of Barnsley and Doncaster have overwhelmingly endorsed a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal over one for the Sheffield City Region.

A community poll in both metropolitan boroughs, undertaken using both online and postal voting, returned an overwhelming response in favour of the Yorkshire-wide option.

This comes after communities secretary Sajid Javid offered Barnsley and Doncaster MBCs a compromise under which they could join a future One Yorkshire devo deal after participating in Sheffield City Region CA mayoral elections, which are due to take place next year.

Responding to the community poll results (see table below), Barnsley’s leader Sir Stephen Houghton (Lab) said he will now seek to negotiate a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal with the “coalition of the willing” made up of 17 other councils in the region. Only Sheffield City Council and Rotherham MBC, which both prefer to remain in the Sheffield City Region deal, and Wakefield MDC have not yet joined that group.

Community poll results
The community poll results 
  Barnsley  Doncaster
Yorkshire-wide deal 84.90% 85.20%
Sheffield City Region deal 15.10% 14.80%
Turnout 22.40% 20.10%

Sir Stephen said the government should not impose a mayor on the Sheffield City Region as it is “against the will of the people”. He said he will “work to push back” the election until 2020.

“We would also want to find an alternative deal for those who wish to remain in the Sheffield City Region devolution deal,” said Sir Stephen.

Doncaster’s mayor Ros Jones (Lab) said: “This result has clearly shown that Doncaster people want a wider Yorkshire deal and that they identify with the county and want to be part of a larger regional devolution story.”

She said she will now “write to the government and push ahead with our express wish to be part of a wider Yorkshire deal”.

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