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Yorkshire leaders defy Brokenshire on devo bid

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Leaders of all but two councils in Yorkshire have put themselves on a collision course with communities secretary James Brokenshire by agreeing to forge ahead with the One Yorkshire devolution proposal.

One Yorkshire is supported by all councils in historic Yorkshire except for Sheffield City Council and Rotherham MBC.

They have remained in support of the Sheffield City Region devolution deal, which is supported by Mr Brokenshire and would also include Barnsley and Doncaster MBCs, both of which have subsequently thrown their weight behind One Yorkshire.

A meeting of Yorkshire leaders this week invited Dan Jarvis (Lab), elected mayor of the putative Sheffield City Region, to join them in backing One Yorkshire.

But a Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government spokesperson said: “The Government has been absolutely clear that the Sheffield City Region deal must be fully implemented first, before further devolution for the rest of Yorkshire can be considered.

“We hope that Sheffield City Region will start the necessary consultation which is the next step of the implementation process.”

In response, a joint statement by the Yorkshire leaders said: “Having promised to give careful consideration to the One Yorkshire proposal, Yorkshire leaders were disappointed the Government’s response earlier this week was a three paragraph letter placing obstacles to achieving a devolution settlement and not addressing the detail of the proposal.”

They added: “Yorkshire Leaders were clear that they stand together - united to deliver One Yorkshire working with a constructive partner in Government. Yorkshire Leaders have tasked officers with continuing to develop the One Yorkshire plan in line with the demands set out by the Government and expect the Government to respond with a constructive approach and rapid progress in the coming weeks and months.”

One Yorkshire would offer substantial economic benefits, which they expected would be shown by the results of an economic study now in progress.

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