In the Budget the Chancellor announced the devolution deal for Leeds City Region as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up of the Regions’ plan. This will give devolved power over funding for infrastructure such as public transport, including bus services, cycling and walking; development of brownfield sites for housing; along with adult skills and education. The region will also have an elected Mayor in May 2021.
Discussions between Ministers and Local Authority leaders began on 29 January 2020. The deal will now go to public consultation before final ratification by the five local authorities and the Government.
Discussions about the make up of Leeds City Region has been ongoing for a number of years, with arguments over whether it would include areas of North Yorkshire such as Harrogate and Craven for a One Yorkshire approach. In the end, the area proposed is primarily West Yorkshire; however there are still views that ‘One Yorkshire’ would be ‘more inclusive’ of the ‘non-City’ areas, small towns, rural and coastal localities. Nonetheless, most agree it is a start to the planning and funding of local priorities.
Sheffield City Region has had a devolution deal since 2015, with a Regional Mayor since 2018. This covers, Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham. They have decided to retain this region.
An interesting paper on Devolving Power to the Regions, Towns and Cities here, from the Institute of Public Policy Research, February 2020.