Devolution supports Green Industrial Revolution

West Yorkshire council leaders, celebrating the announcement of a devolution deal in March 2020

After five years, multiple geographic variations and dare we guess, multiple late nights, devolution has been delivered.

The deal worth £1.8bn is the largest done to date by any region. And according to West Yorkshire leaders will help “the region which drove the first Industrial Revolution to do so again in the Green Industrial Revolution.”

The leaders also emphasised that the deal gives the region “greater flexibility to take decisions which address local concerns without asking permission from Whitehall and Westminster.”

However it was not just the leaders who’ve welcomed the deal.

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the NP11 group of 11 local enterprise partnerships across the North, said: “This is a significant milestone for our region, giving our local area more of the investment and powers we need to create extraordinary economic opportunity for our people, businesses and communities.

“This deal is also a positive step forward for the North as a whole. As the NP11 set out in our Manifesto for the North, devolution for every part of the North is critical to unleash the full economic potential of a thriving Northern Powerhouse. Today’s announcement completes a key missing piece in the North’s devolution jigsaw, and I hope other areas currently without the benefits of devolution follow swiftly in West Yorkshire’s wake.

He was keen to emphasise the success to date prior to devolution “Our region has achieved great things by working across geographies and across the public and private sectors. Through our £1bn Growth Deal we’ve created jobs, opportunities and business growth across the whole of Leeds City Region. The close integration between our LEP and our Combined Authority is a model of efficient partnership working which has been fundamental to our success. This strong partnership approach in pursuit of our shared interests will be further enhanced by the arrival of a West Yorkshire Mayor, who will also be a member of the LEP Board.”

Russell Turner, Managing Partner, Garbutt + Elliott, said: “Confirmation of the West Yorkshire devolution deal announced in the budget is great news for businesses in the region. This deal will be seen as a great opportunity for West Yorkshire business leaders to influence decision making at a macro level and play a key role in the continued growth of our regional economy, from which everyone will benefit.”

Simeon Butterworth, Director at engineering professional services consultancy WSP said: “We welcome the news of a long-awaited devolution deal for West Yorkshire, another major step in helping to rebalance economic and decision-making powers for the north.”

Ben Hall, head of the Leeds office of real estate services provider Colliers International, said: “This devolution deal for West Yorkshire is long overdue, and recognises the significance of Leeds and also the city’s potential.

“Leeds provides the biggest contribution to the Northern Powerhouse, as well as being the UK’s largest regional finance centre with a total workforce of over 1.4 million.

“Devolution will mean decisions for Yorkshire can be made in Yorkshire, instead of in Westminster. It will also boost the regional economy by making it possible to realise transport schemes that will improve connectivity.”

Mid Yorkshire Chamber managing director, Martin Hathaway, said: “The news that a devolution deal in West Yorkshire has at long last been agreed with a directly-elected Mayor accountable for the West Yorkshire region is a breakthrough.

“It will see the region get an elected mayor in May 2021 and access to a £4.2bn pot of ‘London-style funding settlements’.

“The deal gives us real power to work with the Combined Authority and LEP and make the spending choices to help West Yorkshire thrive.”

The deal, which according to the West Yorkshire leaders will now be the “subject of an extensive consultation process with our communities, businesses, charities and trade unions”, However it’s important to highlight that according to the announcement the region will go to the polls for its first directly elected Mayor in just 14 months.