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West Yorks seeks new devo deal and £200m investment

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West Yorkshire Combined Authority has submitted a bid to government for £200m funding and has called for a new devolution deal.

The submission includes £100m funding for a housing deal covering the Leeds City Region. LGC reported last month how the Treasury said the city was making “good progress” on securing a housing deal in time for the autumn Budget on 22 November.

The government is being asked to commit to previous promises regarding transport investment, including upgrades to the trans-Pennine rail route connecting York, Leeds and Huddersfield with Manchester and Liverpool, and the delivery of the high-speed Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme with stops in York, Leeds and Bradford.

Another ask is £40m for a local energy fund which will reduce the cost of domestic and businesses energy bills through investment in low carbon, locally generated energy. A further £50m has been requested for investment in innovation to create new jobs and business opportunities in the city region’s ‘MedTech’ sector and to create a new high-speed rail institute.

A statement from the combined authority said: “In addition to the ambitious calls for investment in specific projects, the submission also emphasises the importance of a devolution deal that will deliver Yorkshire and Leeds City Region’s full economic potential.”

West Yorkshire CA chair and Bradford City MBC leader Susan Hinchcliffe (Lab) said: “However, realising this requires decisions on policy and investment to be made by people who are dedicated to our region and who have the local expertise required, so I hope the government will match our ambition for the meaningful devolution that will make this possible.

“Only by taking decisions and allocating resources at the right level, as set out in the devolution proposals contained in our autumn Budget submission, will we be able to turbo-charge our economy and ensure our region plays its full part as a powerhouse, not just for the north but for the whole of the country.”

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is made up of Bradford, Calderdale MBC, Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Leeds City Council, Wakefield MDC, City of York Council, and the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

While a devolution deal for the Leeds City Region, which also incorporates the North Yorkshire districts of Craven, Harrogate and Selby, was secured in March 2015 it was described at the time as “disappointing”.

Leeds City Region leaders, with the exception of Wakefield’s Peter Box (Lab), have publicly backed proposals for a Greater Yorkshire deal but ministers have repeatedly said they are not willing to do a deal on that footprint.

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