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No Yorkshire devo deal, says Northern Powerhouse minister

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A Yorkshire-wide devolution deal has been ruled out by the new minister for the Northern Powerhouse, while Jake Berry has also cast doubt over the government’s appetite to hand powers and controls to non-metropolitan areas.

In an op-ed for the Yorkshire Post Mr Berry reinforced opposition to a Greater Yorkshire deal, as previously stated by his predecessor Andrew Percy and communities secretary Sajid Javid.

Mr Berry said: “I want to be very clear about one thing. There will not be a ‘full Yorkshire’ devolution deal. Yorkshire is a fantastic brand. But devolution is about giving control to cities.”

The reference to cities and no other area could cause concern for non-metropolitan places whose hopes had been raised when the Conservative party manifesto dropped the requirement for all areas to adopt elected mayors as part of devolution deals.

In a section on devolution in England the manifesto said: “We will support those authorities that wish to combine to serve their communities better. For combined authorities that are based around our great cities, we will continue to support the adoption of elected mayors, but we will not support them for the rural counties.”

Meanwhile, Mr Berry’s op-ed reiterated the Sheffield City Region’s mayoral election will still go ahead next May and added it is “the only deal that’s there” for Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham MBCs, and Sheffield City Council - all constituent members of the region’s combined authority.

He also said he wanted to “work with local leaders in Leeds and I’m ready to listen to their ideas” over a potential deal for that area. LGC reported last month how leaders in West Yorkshire had urged the prime minister to conclude a devolution deal “as soon as possible this year”.

 

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