‘There is no rea­son why we can­not come to­gether more pow­er­fully’

Natalie Sykes

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE -

De­volved power for York­shire has be­come a deeply con­tro­ver­sial and po­lit­i­cal is­sue in re­cent years. But while talks over a York­shirewide de­vo­lu­tion deal re­main dead­locked, I was pleased to see two of our re­gion’s Lo­cal En­ter­prise Part­ner­ships ap­prove plans to merge.

The move would see York, North York­shire and East Rid­ing com­bine with the Leeds City Re­gion to form a sin­gle body, re­spon­si­ble for sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial in­vest­ment to boost eco­nomic growth and so­cial in­clu­sion.

It’s about time York­shire played to our strength in the Su­per League with our own Su­per LEP.

The pro­posed new LEP would cover 4,000 square miles and eight per cent of Eng­land, bring­ing to­gether cities of in­ter­na­tional stand­ing with ru­ral and coastal com­mu­ni­ties. This di­verse ge­og­ra­phy could be chal­leng­ing for one or­gan­i­sa­tion to rep­re­sent but, to my mind, the merger is a sen­si­ble so­lu­tion.

It is driven by a cen­tral gov­ern­ment re­view, which aims to build on the achieve­ments of LEPs so far and strengthen their ac­count­abil­ity, ready to take on re­spon­si­bil­ity for the new UK Shared Pros­per­ity Fund, set to re­place Euro­pean fund­ing postBrexit.

It could also re­move those cu­ri­ous over­laps that, for ex­am­ple, make Barns­ley a mem­ber of both the Sh­effield and Leeds LEPs (it is ex­pected to re­main within Sh­effield only).

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Re­gion En­ter­prise Part­ner­ship and our IoD Coun­cil Mem­ber for York­shire and the North East, is­sued a joint state­ment with his York, North York­shire and East Rid­ing coun­ter­part David Ker­foot, which talked of a “com­bined en­gine for ex­traor­di­nary eco­nomic growth”.

I have pre­vi­ously gone on record with my sup­port for a One York­shire de­vo­lu­tion deal, but in what­ever guise that may take to bet­ter our re­gion.

There is no rea­son why we can­not come to­gether more pow­er­fully through two, three or even four may­ors rep­re­sent­ing dif­fer­ent parts of our re­gion. In­deed, the chair­man­ship of

One York­shire could ro­tate through the may­ors on one-year terms, en­sur­ing each area has an equal voice and we re­ally do be­come one.

Dare I say it, this could even be ex­panded across the en­tire North­ern Pow­er­house to am­plify our mes­sage back to White­hall and the global stage – but per­haps let’s take one step at a time, and one in the right di­rec­tion!

I would love 2019 to be the year when we fi­nally un­ravel the knots that are hold­ing back de­vo­lu­tion. With that in mind, we will be hold­ing a break­fast event in Har­ro­gate on Jan­uary 10 to dis­cuss how we can trans­port the North into the fu­ture. Our guest speak­ers will in­clude Dr

Alan James, formerly of Vir­gin Hyper­loop One, the new mode of trans­port that car­ries pas­sen­gers or cargo in pods at speeds of up to 1,000 kmh.

We also have our ever-pop­u­lar North York­shire An­nual Din­ner on Jan­uary 24 which is all about the busi­ness of sport and mail with an ex­cit­ing Burns Night twist. We have top tal­ent from Bar­clays, Royal Mail and Mans­field Town FC join­ing us.

We’d love to see you there. Our mem­bers’ rates are ex­tended to York­shire Post all read­ers who book be­fore the end of 2018.

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