Council leaders express Yorkshire devolution frustration

Cllr Yvonne Peacock.

Richmondshire and North Yorkshire council leaders have expressed frustration over the lack of progress towards devolution in Yorkshire, saying the region is being overlooked in favour of places with elected mayors.

As the Government continues to consider the One Yorkshire scheme to give powers from the government to Yorkshire, under the control of an elected mayor, Conservative local authority leaders in North Yorkshire said their efforts to press ahead with negotiations had been thwarted.

Councillor Carl Les, leader of North Yorkshire County Council, told a meeting of Local Government North Yorkshire and York he had been left confused by the Northern Powerhouse minister at the Conservative Party conference.

He said:  “I spoke to Jake Berry and he said all will be revealed in due course. So quite what all is going to be I don’t know.”

Cllr Les said while loyalty over Brexit was the buzzword of the recent Conservative Party conference, elected mayors was another key issue.

He told the meeting: “It seemed to me that unless you have an elected mayor you are not at the front of the queue for negotiating with government.”

Richmondshire District Council leader Councillor Yvonne Peacock added it was apparent at the party conference that elected mayors were being given “control and opportunity”.

Calling for the all One Yorkshire authority leaders to collaborate, Selby District Council leader Councillor Mark Crane warned that anyone “giving the Government a kicking” would only harden Mr Berry’s attitude.

North Yorkshire County Council chief executive Richard Flinton said a letter presenting the economic case for Yorkshire and the timescales for moving forward and governance issues was set to be sent to Whitehall for ministerial consideration.

He added: “We will see whether we get a response and Government engagement on it.”