The Yorkshire Party has criticised the proposed West Yorkshire Devolution Deal’s ‘undemocratic voting rules and woeful lack of funding’, and called for properly funded OneYorkshire devolution. If Mayoral elections go ahead, the Yorkshire Party campaign on a platform of fighting for ‘real devolution’.
Yorkshire Party leader, Bob Buxton, said: “We’re disappointed that the people of Yorkshire have never been given the option of OneYorkshire devolution. 90% of councils in Yorkshire supported OneYorkshire devolution but their opinion has been ignored and public opinion has never been sought.” Dr Buxton added: “The West Yorkshire deal acknowledges that Yorkshire needs more
powers over transport than are proposed, so why not deliver these powers? Instead, Westminster is giving us HS2 rather than Hull-Liverpool and sufficient local railways.”
The Yorkshire Party’s response to the consultation, which closes on July 19th , criticises the level of funding. “The Deal claims the West Yorkshire Investment Fund will ‘deliver a programme of transformational long-term investment’, however, Government will only provide £38 million per year for the Fund. That works out to about £16 per person.” The Mayor will have tax-raising powers, which the Party fears will lead to “West Yorkshire residents paying higher taxes, to compensate for underfunding from central Government and decades of underinvestment,” and calls for a “fair share” of public spending.
The Mayor will be the chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).
Dr Buxton criticised the proposed “over-complicated and inconsistent voting rules”, which he explains may lead to deadlock on WYCA. “The Mayor is responsible for proposing the Spatial Development Strategy but it requires the unanimous support from the five council leaders. Worse still, extra members appointed for so-called ‘political balance’ may vote on amending the Mayor’s budget. How, in a democracy, can unelected members vote on such crucial issues? Equally undemocratically, the Mayor will wield some influence over York but the people of York don’t get to vote in the mayoral election - why?”
Dr Buxton concluded: “A OneYorkshire Parliamentary model, with simple majority voting, would avoid these pitfalls. It would also give the people of Yorkshire the power to decide Yorkshire’s future.”
The consultation closes on Sunday 19th July - please respond, via email to [email protected]