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Combined authority chair steps down

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West Yorkshire Combined Authority chair Peter Box (Lab) has stepped down from the role following his appointment to lead the Key Cities group.

Cllr Box, who is also leader of Wakefield MDC, said chairing Key Cities is “going to require a significant amount of my time and attention”.

The combined authority chair role “should revolve every two to three years” anyway, said Cllr Box, who has been chair since the body was officially set up in 2014.

A new chair is expected to be appointed at the next meeting of the combined authority on 3 August.

In a statement Cllr Box said: “West Yorkshire Combined Authority has a vital role to play developing city region-wide investments and programmes that make people’s lives better, more prosperous and full of opportunity. The chair of the combined authority needs to dedicate time and focus to be successful and this is the reason why I am stepping aside as chair so that someone else can ensure the successes keep coming.”

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is made up of Bradford City MBC, Calderdale MBC, Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Leeds City Council, Wakefield MDC, City of York Council, and the Leeds City Region 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 Cllr Box described it at the time as “disappointing”.

Since then discussions about securing a more comprehensive devolution deal have stalled due to interference from local Conservative MPs concerned about a Labour mayor overseeing its implementation.

Alternative proposals for a Yorkshire-wide deal do not have the support of communities secretary Sajid Javid or new Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry.

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