Yorkshire’s Mayors welcomed a “new dawn” for devolution after Tracy Brabin hosted talks with the Chancellor on the government’s growth mission in West Yorkshire today (11 July).

The meeting, which included West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin, South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard and York and North Yorkshire Mayor David Skaith, was convened by the Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP to discuss how deeper devolution could stimulate greater economic growth in Yorkshire and across the UK.

With the promise of new “freedoms and flexibilities” in next week’s King’s Speech, the Mayors hope to be empowered to boost economic growth and deliver record numbers of jobs, through bold action on skills, transport, housebuilding and supporting businesses.

By ensuring that everyone can get on the housing ladder, get the skills they need to succeed, and get to work quickly and reliably using public transport, the three Metro Mayors hope to transform their regional economies and put money back in people’s pockets.

The proposals will be formalised in Local Growth Plans that pay special attention to the unique strengths of each region. Meeting with the UK’s Mayors earlier this week, the Prime Minister Keir Starmer vowed to put more power in the hands of local leaders who have “skin in the game” and know what is best for their regions.

Speaking after her visit to Leeds today, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves MP, said: 


“Economic growth is a national mission and my top priority. To achieve it we must fix the foundations of the economy and reset our relationship with local leaders. That starts with the grown-up conversations like we’ve had today.


“Through partnership with the Mayors in Yorkshire, we are entrusting them to deliver change for their communities, secure investment and power growth so that people here feel better off.”


David Skaith, Mayor of York and North Yorkshire, said: 


“The meetings we have had this week with Government are creating a real momentum. It’s hugely positive that Government is so engaged with Mayors around the country. By engaging so closely with us, we can ensure that Growth Plans can truly support the distinctive needs and opportunities of our regions. Each region is unique and with our rural strengths, York and North Yorkshire has so much to offer towards UK Growth.


“In York and North Yorkshire, we urgently need more affordable homes and to unlock the potential for growth in our green economy that creates new, higher paid jobs. These are two key areas for our developing economic plans. The prospect of deeper devolution is exciting and will help us all to reach our full potential.”


Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: 


“It was fabulous to host the Chancellor in her first week in post. This new dawn in the working relationship between the Government and the regions will help create growth and put money back in people’s pockets.


“We’re already cracking on with our local growth plan and today’s discussion was a helpful chance to ensure we maximise West Yorkshire’s contribution to growing the UK economy.


“With greater freedoms and flexibilities over devolved funding and a more formal relationship with the heart of government, we will help deliver the change our country so desperately needs.


“We will be giving more details about our plans for a West Yorkshire mass transit network, starting with trams in Leeds and Bradford, next week, and we look forward to progressing them with this government. This project will be instrumental in boosting growth and helping create a brighter future for all.”


Oliver Coppard, South Yorkshire’s Mayor, said: 


“I’m delighted that in her first week in the job, the Chancellor has come back to Yorkshire to begin a conversation about how we can work together to grow our economy, and create real opportunity for everyone across South Yorkshire.


“The tone and approach of Rachel, Keir and Angela in this first few days is making real their commitment to deliver power, control and hope back to communities across the north.


“Today we agreed to quickly work together to unlock the potential of South Yorkshire. We’re home to the largest cleantech cluster in the UK and the world’s first and best advanced manufacturing innovation district. By working with government to capitalise on our unique strengths, we can deliver on our shared promise that everyone can stay near and go far.”

From a press release originally published by West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Published on Thursday 11 July 2024