Time after time London has decided what’s best for Yorkshire – and got it wrong. This has to change. People in Yorkshire themselves must set their own priorities and determine how their money is best spent.
In short, the Yorkshire Party’s vision is one of subsidiarity – where powers are exercised as close to the people as possible.
We believe that the historic county of Yorkshire, with its own distinct identity, economic output and culture should be able to determine her own future in the form of a Regional Parliament.
We believe that the people of Yorkshire should have more say in how their lives are run and that locally elected politicians should be taking the key decisions about Yorkshire’s future – not unelected bureaucrats or disinterested ministers in London.
A democratic settlement for Yorkshire
It is our view that Yorkshire merits a standalone Regional Parliament, similar to that afforded to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the city of London.
Yorkshire is a region which has its own distinct identity & culture. Generations of neglect from Whitehall have left the North, and especially Yorkshire struggling – we believe that by bringing decision-making closer to the people, and having the right joint up thinking for the relevant issues, such as transport is going to unlock Yorkshire’s potential.
We also have a distinct economic profile, however, at the present time, Yorkshire is disadvantaged in having no form of effective devolved governance.
It continues to lack the powers to make important political, economic, environmental and social decisions for itself.
Government bodies, quangos and agencies which develop key strategies and policies are located outside of Yorkshire and are not accountable to the people of Yorkshire. They inevitably fail to recognise the strengths of Yorkshire or understand the special needs of its communities.
It means that approaches specifically relevant to Yorkshire are rarely pursued by the central government.
The Yorkshire Party is campaigning for the recognition of Yorkshire as a distinct region including all forms of governance and administration. At the heart of this, we are campaigning for a new democratic settlement, with the meaningful devolution of significant powers to a Regional Parliament.
A Yorkshire Regional Parliament
We propose that the Regional Parliament for Yorkshire be elected on a proportional representation basis and the Yorkshire Party has a manifesto commitment to the creation of a legislative Regional Parliament of Yorkshire, the Regional Parliament would have the capability to create primary legislation within its various areas of competence, without reference to Westminster, as well as democratic control over most areas of domestic politics in Yorkshire, and associated public expenditure, as listed below:
Agriculture, fisheries and food, including food standards and food security.
Arts and culture, including broadcasting, libraries, museums, and support for Yorkshire cultural traditions.
Economic development, including regeneration, promotion of trade and inward investment, and promotion of tourism.
Education and training, including early years and school education, further and higher education, training policy and lifelong learning.
Energy policy, including renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.
Environment and heritage include all forms of environmental protection, flood defence and the protection of the historic environment.
Health, including full responsibility for the Health Service in Yorkshire.
Home affairs, including the police and other emergency services, prisons and emergency planning.
Housing, including investment in affordable housing.
Local government, including local government finance and taxation.
Planning, including a Planning Policy Framework for Yorkshire.
Social services, including child protection and support for the voluntary sector.
Sport, including a Yorkshire Sports Council.
Transport, including responsibility for all forms of road, air and sea transport, as well as support for the public transport infrastructure.
The Regional Parliament would also have the ability to vary a whole range of taxation instruments, including income tax powers.
The economic basis of the devolution settlement
The United Kingdom – even taking into account the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – is an over-centralised state, dominated by London and the South East.
As a consequence, central government policies favour the South East of England.
Other areas lose out and this is reflected in the economic performance of areas such as Yorkshire. Central government has failed Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Party believes that the best way to improve the Yorkshire economy would be for strategies and policies to be devised by those people who live in Yorkshire and have a tangible stake in the success of their policies.
The Yorkshire Party maintains that the Regional Parliament of Yorkshire would be in a strong position to build a more prosperous economy. It would, for example, be able to support Yorkshire’s traditional and emerging industries, build on Yorkshire’s sense of place and space, its unique brand, and coastal/maritime potential. It would also be able to prioritise infrastructure improvements that would benefit the Yorkshire economy.