Historic decentralization deal to be signed with York and North Yorkshire | New

A landmark devolution agreement giving more power to local communities in Yorkshire will be signed by Leveling Secretary Greg Clark today. The historic moment comes as the county celebrates Yorkshire Day.

  • New powers will be transferred to the directly elected mayor of York and North Yorkshire, who will benefit from a £540million investment from the government
  • Decision-making will focus on what matters most to local people, opening up new opportunities for the region
  • DLUHC is delivering on the Leveling Up White Paper commitment to empower cities and towns to support leveling up

DLUHC is delivering this important agreement which will create a new combined authority across the region with a directly elected mayor allowing local leaders to better respond to the specific needs of the region.

The mayor will have the power to invest in transport, housing and education, and will receive £540m from the government over the next 30 years.

The devolution deal means more than half a billion pounds will be transferred from central government to York and North Yorkshire to be invested based on local knowledge.

York and North Yorkshire is the first city and rural region to see devolution on the scale enjoyed by central urban areas, including South and West Yorkshire.

Upgrade Secretary Greg Clark MP said:

“Yorkshire Day 2022 is historic. It marks the return of powers and resources from London to much of the historic North Riding.

“The leveling up – driving prosperity and opportunity in all parts of Britain – is best achieved when local people can shape the future of their region. This agreement is a big step in that direction.”

The mayor will be supported by the transfer of key powers and investments from Whitehall to deliver the deal. Key features include:

  • Control of an investment fund of £540m in total over 30 years to drive growth and advance local priorities over the longer term. This will give the mayor and local constituent councils more flexibility to decide how best to spend the money on key local priorities, for example, capital infrastructure projects, including transport, affordable housing and the promotion of economic development sites. It will also contribute to economic measures such as skills development and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • New powers to improve and better integrate local transport, including the possibility of introducing bus franchising and an integrated transport regulation from 2024/25.
  • Powers to better leverage local skills to ensure they meet the needs of the local economy. This will include the decentralization of adult education functions and the core adult education budget and contribute to the local skills improvement plan.
  • Over £22.6million to support the construction of new homes on brownfields, provide affordable housing and drive green economic growth in York and North Yorkshire.
  • Powers to drive area regeneration and build more affordable and beautiful homes, including compulsory purchasing powers and the ability to create municipal development corporations.
  • The mayor will assume the role and functions of the police, fire and crime commissioner.

Chief Treasury Secretary Simon Clarke said:

“Local leaders know best what their communities need, so I am delighted that the people of York and North Yorkshire can directly elect a mayor to meet their priorities.

“Decentralization will benefit people across the region and we are committed to energizing more local areas in the same way we are leveling the whole country.”

The deal is the first of 13 decentralization negotiations named in the Leveling Up white paper to materialize. These places will benefit from the improved local leadership, continued investment, and better connectivity of local services that decentralization unlocks.

The devolution deals come on top of other government leveling measures in Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire County Council leader Cllr Carl Les said:

“The opportunity to gain a host of decision-making powers as well as bringing in millions of pounds of investment for North Yorkshire is a huge opportunity to shape the future of the county for many years to come.

“Whether it’s improving skills and education, attracting more investment to the region, or helping to improve transport links and provide much-needed affordable housing, the agreement will enable us to to take much more control over our own destiny.

“An elected mayor representing both York and North Yorkshire would be a powerful figure to have a seat at the table for further negotiations with the government, bringing real and tangible benefits to the region.”

York City Council leader Councilor Keith Aspden said:

“This proposed deal is an important step on the road to securing devolution for York and North Yorkshire, and is undoubtedly a historic moment for our city, given the significant investment and powers that this devolution deal can potentially bring to York and the wider region.

“Decentralization represents a real opportunity to secure significant investment and power for York and North Yorkshire, whether it’s advancing crucial work on BioYorkshire, delivering York Central or helping us become the England’s first carbon negative region.

“This proposed agreement could unlock 30 years of investment to improve economic prosperity and long-term opportunity for all of our residents and businesses.”

The government is already investing over £392m in 16 town deals to help regenerate Yorkshire towns and over £68m to renew and reshape town centers and high streets across Yorkshire, including Barnsley, Halifax and Northallerton.

Ten regions are benefiting from a £187m investment from the Leveling Up Fund across Yorkshire, and over £169m is also being invested in Yorkshire through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to build pride and spread the equality of chances.

Leveling Up secretary Greg Clark is due to sign the agreement today alongside leaders from North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York.

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