MP hits out at plan to ‘Balka­nise’ York­shire de­vo­lu­tion

Yorkshire Post - - POLITICS & ECONOMY -

ONE YORK­SHIRE sup­port­ers have crit­i­cised calls for the “Balka­ni­sa­tion” of the re­gion into four de­volved “com­pet­ing fief­doms” each with their own metro mayor.

Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake and Labour MP Clive Betts yes­ter­day wrote a joint ar­ti­cle in The York­shire Post crit­i­cis­ing plans for an all-York­shire mayor and de­vo­lu­tion agree­ment, ar­gu­ing in­stead for the cre­ation of four sep­a­rate city re­gions based around Leeds, York, Hull and Sh­effield.

But a One York­shire source de­scribed their sug­ges­tion as “out of step” with the 18 out of 20 coun­cil lead­ers who back a re­gion-wide deal, busi­nesses and vot­ers.

And Keigh­ley MP John Gro­gan in­sisted the re­gion must present a “united front” with one clear voice to max­imise its po­ten­tial.

Pre­vi­ously scep­ti­cal Min­is­ters are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing a de­tailed eco­nomic study which says a One York­shire deal could give the re­gion a £30bn boost.

Labour MP Mr Gro­gan said: “Balka­nis­ing York­shire would cre­ate four com­pet­ing fief­doms. We need to present a united front to the world to max­imise in­ward in­vest­ment, pro­mote the county and co-or­di­nate poli­cies on eco­nomic re­gen­er­a­tion and skills.”

Mr Gro­gan pointed out that Tory MPs have pre­vi­ously op­posed a Leeds City Re­gion deal.

Mr Gro­gan said: “I seem to re­call that Kevin and some of his col­leagues lob­bied rather strongly against a de­vo­lu­tion deal for Leeds City Re­gion when it was a se­ri­ous pos­si­bil­ity years ago.

“Time has moved on and Labour and Tory coun­cil lead­ers from across the county now over­whelm­ingly back One York­shire.”

A One York­shire source added: “They are out of step with the lead­ers on lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, out of step with the busi­ness com­mu­nity, and out of step with the pub­lic who do not want a more com­pli­cated ar­range­ment but a strong, sin­gle voice.”

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