York and North Yorkshire’s devolution order has been laid in Parliament – marking another step towards the devolution deal becoming law in early 2024.
Officials say the deal, which was announced in August 2022, will bring investment of more than £540 million over the next 30 years to the region.
York and North Yorkshire councils and a new combined authority led by an elected mayor will have more decision-making powers over key local issues, such as adult education, transport, infrastructure, skills, jobs and housing.
Council bosses say work is already underway to maximise the impact of the deal.
Last month, £7 million was allocated to 23 net zero schemes across York and North Yorkshire, funding that will be received should the combined authority be approved by Parliament. Alongside carbon reduction, funding will create a pipeline of net zero projects that will drive economic growth, create jobs, reduce energy costs for businesses and leverage further investment.
The devolution order was laid in Parliament on Tuesday.
North Yorkshire Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “The prospect of bringing more decision-making powers and millions of pounds in additional funding from the Government will bring real and tangible benefits for hundreds of thousands of people in York and North Yorkshire.
“Devolution is about ensuring levelling up becomes a reality, tackling regional inequalities and bringing the prospect for more equal opportunities with better job opportunities and improved skills and training, more affordable housing and tackling the threat of climate change.
“The announcement that the Government has laid the order before parliament, for the creation of a combined authority is very welcome, and the next significant step towards achieving the long-held ambition for devolution for both York and North Yorkshire.
“The new combined authority will be a driving force behind the devolution process, overseeing major strategic projects and how funding will be allocated, and working closely with both North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council.”
Cllr Claire Douglas, leader of City of York Council, said: “Devolution and the creation of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority presents a huge opportunity for our region. City of York Council committed, in our four-year council plan, to working in partnership to maximise the opportunities arising from devolution
and we can’t wait to get started. The laying of the draft order is another key milestone as we work towards establishing the new combined authority.
“This is a true partnership effort between York and North Yorkshire, and I want to thank everyone involved who has worked tirelessly to get us to this point. Devolution will allow us to bring significant new investment into York and the surrounding region.
“It brings vitally important new opportunities to deliver sustainable, affordable housing and transport, to tackle the climate emergency and to grow our economy for the benefit of all our residents. These are all priorities that align with our vision and ambition for the city to be more equal, affordable, climate focussed and healthy.”
The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority Order 2023 is a legal document which sets out the powers available to the incoming mayor and combined authority to deliver the content of the devolution deal.
Public consultation on the deal ran for eight weeks at the end of 2022. Results from that consultation were published in February this year and showed widespread support.
MPs are now expected to consider the draft order before Christmas.
James Farrar, Interim Director of Transition for the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, added: “Subject to progress, a new combined authority could be operational in January and formally launched in February. A mayoral election would take place on 2nd May 2024.”