Yorkshire devolution plan announced on Yorkshire Day

Council leaders have marked Yorkshire Day with the announcement that they will work together on a plan for devolution.

Leaders from authorities across Yorkshire – including Richmondshire and Hambleton – agreed to form a ‘coalition of the willing’ to work together to secure a devolution deal.

This plan would see an elected mayor chosen to lead Yorkshire, although at present Sheffield and Rotherham are working on their own devolution plans.

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The announcement comes after council leaders met in York last week.

They said in a joint statement: “Today is Yorkshire Day and therefore it seems right to talk today about our county, its ambitions and our identity. Last Friday, Yorkshire leaders met in York in a positive and constructive meeting and agreed that they have strong common cause.

“The county is big enough and bold enough to want to carve out its own destiny. Leaders were focussed on increasing productivity and growing an inclusive economy that works for all.

“The Leaders agreed unanimously to form a ‘coalition of the willing’, working towards securing a single ambitious devolution deal for the Yorkshire authorities and areas wanting to work together on this basis.

“This would in the first instance be based on the Government’s present requirements of a directly elected mayor with clear responsibilities yet to be determined.

“All Leaders present, including Barnsley and Doncaster, supported this approach as well as supporting a deal for Sheffield and Rotherham, should they seek to pursue that as an option.”

“Over the coming weeks, the leaders committed to exploring these proposals with colleagues, local stakeholders including MPs, business, unions and political groups. Leaders plan to meet again in early September to decide how best to take this negotiation forward with Government at pace and with local backing.

“It is a Happy Yorkshire Day across the whole of this great and historic county – a county with the potential for as great a future as a past.”

The plan was today welcomed by leader of Richmondshire District Council Yvonne Peacock, who was at the meeting in York.

She said: “This is a way forward to put Yorkshire on the map which will be of benefit to the whole of Richmondshire.,

“Richmondshire needs to be a part of the process going forward.”

Yorkshire Day was first celebrated in 1975 by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, and the date marks the Battle of Minden in 1759 and the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834 – a movement led by MP William Wilberforce, from Hull.