Reports that the Government is ready to break the impasse on Yorkshire devolution have been dismissed by the Yorkshire Party.
Yorkshire Post journalist Rob Parsons reported that Communities Secretary James Brokenshire agreed to progress the previously-deadlocked deal in the Sheffield City Region.
The Government was reported as saying that the £30m-a-year devolution deal for South Yorkshire could go ahead even if Barnsley and Doncaster decided to join a wider devolution agreement after 2022.
The deal collapsed after the two councils pulled out in favour of the proposed One Yorkshire plan favoured by other political leaders in the region.
Yorkshire Party spokesperson Mick Bower said: “It’s not surprising that people are turning away from the old parties when they act to serve themselves not the people.
“In community polls on the specific issue – around 85% of Barnsley and Doncaster voters supported the proposals to devolve power to the whole of Yorkshire. In the 2018 Mayoral Election,a majority of votes were cast for candidates who argued that One Yorkshire devolution was the way forward,” said Mick, the Party’s Social Affairs Spokesperson and former Party candidate for mayor of the Sheffield City Region.
“The minister says he’s “ready to consider a localist approach to devolution elsewhere in Yorkshire” and recognises “the strength of the Yorkshire identity” – yet he ignores the clearly expressed will of the people.
“The Tory government want weak city regions instead of real devolution – business as usual with power in Westminster. They are supported by the Labour leaders of Sheffield and Rotherham who are interested in maintaining their own little fiefdoms rather than doing what is best thing for the people they are supposed to represent.
“Sheffield Mayor Dan Jarvis, who stood on a One Yorkshire platform describes the letter as a ‘positive response’ – ignoring all the contradictions and caveats that are intended to thwart the will of the people. It’s clear that the Westminster parties can’t be trusted to deliver the powers and resources that Yorkshire needs to move forward.”
Yorkshire Party Leader Chris Whitwood added: “The signed Sheffield City Region deal is woefully under-ambitious. Whilst this may appear to be a step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go before Yorkshire achieves anything like the meaningful devolved powers necessary to address the issues affecting our region.”