Lack of Yorkshire wide voice lets us down once again.
Now that the budget has ended, we can review what effect it will have on the people who live, work and study in our region. The Yorkshire Party believes in one voice for the county – a democratically elected parliament - that will truly represent the whole of Yorkshire is the only way out of the mire of bickering MPs and city region mayors arguing for scraps from the Westminster table.
Thanks to devolution the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish are being provided for with extra lump sums of money to be spent on developing their areas, something we are missing out on due to our lack of regional government.
The huge education spending gap that already exists between schools in Yorkshire and those in London/the South East will not benefit from the £1,500 increase per pupil (Not to mention that this only returns education spending to 2010 levels). We need a Yorkshire challenge, aimed at creating more ‘good’ & ‘outstanding’ OFSTED ranked schools, raising standards in the lowest ranked schools, improving teacher retention and narrowing the gap between the weakest & highest performing schools. Similar schemes have proved successful in London and in Manchester.
It also appears that the HS2 Eastern leg’s existence comes under further doubt as it was completely missed in the Chancellor’s speech, alongside no mention of the Northern Powerhouse rail plan. Much speculation has been raised about this in the last few days, with whispers of the Nottinghamshire arm of HS2 being completely scrapped and the bloated project now suspected to only reach up to the edge of Yorkshire. We do not believe that transport success should be measured in how quickly you can reach London – we support a highspeed rail link spanning from Hull to Liverpool and further work done to connect the ever-growing isolated communities within areas such as the East Riding. Also missing, was any mention of a mass transit system for West Yorkshire, despite the Tories previously claiming to support this, and with Labour not pushing for it either. Charitably, £6.9 billion pounds, of which £4.2 billion has already been announced, will be split up between the City Region Mayors for spending on improving bus routes, cycle lanes and other local transport projects, with some Mayors being more than happy to accept whatever crumbs they receive. Unfortunately for Yorkshire, this means that the North and East Ridings are left high and dry. Once again, the lack of a unified voice that is willing to fight for the region as a whole, is leaving parts of our county behind.
We welcome the news of a new offshore wind farm in East Yorkshire – but certainly believe more can be done by the government to promote green energy careers and production of energy from clean sources.
We also welcome funding to help make the case for reopening the York-Beverley railway line, for which the Yorkshire Party has long campaigned, and hope that this project is approved and progressed quickly. We hope for similar reopenings of lines across Yorkshire but are cautious of the usual way these transport developments go, namely announcement, postponement, downgraded and finally cancelled.
All in all, it is the same old story, regardless of red or blue in power in Westminster, Yorkshire struggles to unlock its full potential due to infighting and bickering amongst her lawmakers. Vote for the Yorkshire Party to end this mess and to create a strong voice that is willing to stand up and fight for an inclusive, forward thinking, prosperous Yorkshire.