Richard Carter, Yorkshire First's leader has welcomed the outcome of the Citizens Assembly vote in Sheffield yesterday (Sunday 8 November), where participants decided that devolution to Yorkshire should take the form of a Yorkshire Assembly.
Over two weekends of deliberation, the 31 participants – drawn as a broadly representative sample from Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster in response to an invitation by polling company YouGov – reached the conclusion through a deep process of engagement with the details of different potential devolution arrangements.
The Citizens Assembly voted for a directly elected assembly for Yorkshire and for stronger powers for the area to include some tax-setting and law-making powers over issues such as transport infrastructure, economic development and education.
Richard Carter welcomed the vote saying:
"Whilst our party was at our conference in York, discussing how we make directly elected assembly for Yorkshire a reality, elsewhere in the county citizens were saying the same thing. It shows people in Yorkshire want decision making powers on key issues here and when the options are put to them, an assembly is their preference.
"There really is a pressing need for a Yorkshire-wide Convention to start putting together a road map for a Yorkshire Assembly. It worked in Scotland and it will work here!"
Former MEP, Diana Wallis, who spoke at the Citizens Assembly on Saturday, added:
"The people present easily saw through the cosy stitch up between George Osborne and local council leaders as producing something which is limited in scope, divisive and undemocratic. In fact if a vote on the current devolution deal had been held this past weekend, a two-thirds majority of the Citizens Assembly members would have rejected it. Another vote showed strong opposition to an elected mayor.
"Politicians of all colours must now surely get the hint and open up the devolution debate for all of the people in Yorkshire."