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Fresh bid to revive Leeds City Region devo deal

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The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has asked the government to resurrect its proposals for a mayoral devolution deal for the Leeds City Region after a Yorkshire-wide version was ruled out last month.

Peter Box

Peter Box

Peter Box

Combined authority chair Peter Box (Lab) (pictured) has asked communities secretary Sajid Javid to clarify his stance on the deal some 18 months after proposals were submitted to the Treasury.

The proposal covers the West Yorkshire authorities of Bradford City MBC, Calderdale MBC, Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Leeds City Council, Wakefield MDC, as well as City of York Council and the North Yorkshire districts of Craven, Harrogate and Selby.

It progressed with ministers until March 2016 when discussions stalled as a result of North Yorkshire objecting to ceding its powers in the three districts to the combined authority. Some Conservative MPs in the region were also said to be opposed to the Leeds City Region deal as they were concerned about the likelihood of a Labour candidate becoming mayor. 

Slow progress with the devolution deal in neighbouring Sheffield City Region then led to talks between it and West Yorkshire on an alternative combined authority for the whole of historic Yorkshire.

This, though, was last month rejected as “not legally possible” by northern powerhouse minister Andrew Percy.

In his letter to Mr Javid, Cllr Box said the Leeds City Region was “devolution-ready”.

He said: “Securing a good deal remains of the greatest significance to the city region because only the devolution of the proposed powers and budgets away from Whitehall will put the levers of economic growth back into the hands of our local people and places.”

This would enable the councils involved to deliver their objectives of £3.7bn additional annual gross value added in the local economy, to ensure all young people were in education, employment or training and to create an extra 37,500 extra jobs by 2036, Cllr Box said.

 

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