The devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire was laid out in parliament last week, on 7 November. The leader of the City of York Council, Cllr Claire Douglas, has since described it as a “key milestone.”
Meanwhile, North Yorkshire Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said it moves York and North Yorkshire forward to receive “millions of pounds in additional funding from the government [which] will bring real and tangible benefits for hundreds of thousands of people”.
The deal was announced in August 2022 and the two councils say it will bring investment of more than £540mn over the next 30 years to the region.
When the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority becomes a legal entity in 2024, York’s Labour administration will have to work with the Conservative North Yorkshire administration to deliver for their collective people.
Cllr Douglas said:
“Devolution and the creation of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority presents a huge opportunity for our region. The City of York Council committed, in our four-year council plan, to working in partnership to maximise the opportunities arising from devolution and we can’t wait to get started.
“The laying of the draft order is another key milestone as we work towards establishing the new combined authority. This is a true partnership effort between York and North Yorkshire, and I want to thank everyone involved who has worked tirelessly to get us to this point.
“Devolution will allow us to bring significant new investment into York and the surrounding region. It brings vitally important new opportunities to deliver sustainable, affordable housing and transport, to tackle the climate emergency and to grow our economy for the benefit of all our residents.
“These are all priorities that align with our vision and ambition for the city to be more equal, affordable, climate focussed and healthy.”
Bringing decision making and funding to North Yorkshire
Cllr Les said:
“The prospect of bringing more decision-making powers and millions of pounds in additional funding from the government will bring real and tangible benefits for hundreds of thousands of people in York and North Yorkshire.
“Devolution is about ensuring levelling up becomes a reality, tackling regional inequalities and bringing the prospect for more equal opportunities with better job opportunities and improved skills and training, more affordable housing and tackling the threat of climate change.
“The announcement that the government has laid the order before parliament, for the creation of a combined authority is very welcome, and the next significant step towards achieving the long-held ambition for devolution for both York and North Yorkshire.
“The new combined authority will be a driving force behind the devolution process, overseeing major strategic projects and how funding will be allocated, and working closely with both North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council.”
Candidates for mayor of York and North Yorkshire
The creation of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority will see a mayor oversee the joint area.
The Conservative Party candidate is Cllr Keane Duncan, former leader of Ryedale District Council, Daily Star deputy news editor and executive member for transport at North Yorkshire Council.
Other major parties have not announced candidates, but former police detective Keith Tordoff is running as an independent, despite initially doing so for the Yorkshire Party.
The Green Party has chosen Cllr Kevin Foster, a former soldier and councillor in Richmond, to lead its bid.
James Farrar, interim director of transition for the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “Subject to progress, a new combined authority could be operational in January and formally launched in February. A mayoral election would take place on 2 May 2024.”