Friday 17 November 2023

A draft devolution deal for Hull and East Yorkshire which would pave the way for the region’s first directly elected mayor is “on the table” – subject to government approval and public consultation.

Councillor Anne Handley, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said that after months of negotiations between the two authorities she was “very hopeful” of the area getting an elected mayor and combined authority. It was “absolutely the right way forward for our region”, she added.

The new proposal marks a radical shift in negotiations which had considered rotating political leadership between the two authorities annually, with no elected mayor. However, Hull and the East Riding are the only two areas of Yorkshire yet to secure a deal from the Government, bringing with it devolved funding and decision-making powers overseen by an elected mayor.

The Chancellor’s autumn statement on 22 November is now expected to announce a draft devolution deal for Hull and East Yorkshire. Cllr Handley said: “We do not want to be the only area of Yorkshire without a devolution deal, or miss out on the greater powers and funding that are only open to devolved areas. We want to be trailblazers and tap into the opportunities that Manchester and the West Midlands have access to.

Speaking at a full meeting of the council on Tuesday evening, she said the deal would be subject to a public consultation rather than a referendum before being instituted – but she would be prepared to ditch it if the independent public consultation showed most people were opposed.

She added: “”However, I have always made it clear that it has to be the right deal for our area. At this stage in the negotiations, following several meetings with Jacob Young, the Minister for Levelling Up, and Michael Gove, the Secretary of State, I am confident that we will have the right deal to begin our devolution journey.”

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