Combined Authority discusses "Devolution Deal"
Today, the Scrutiny Committee of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) considered the case put forward by the Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for greater devolution of powers and pounds to deliver the organisations’ shared ambitions for economic growth.
With progress towards greater devolution for English cities and regions gathering pace after the Scottish independence referendum, the Combined Authority and LEP have been invited to take part in discussions with government over the powers and funding that could transform the City Region economy into a net contributor to national growth.
Scrutiny Committee members heard that a response had been submitted to the government’s Northern Futures consultation. Based upon the LEP and Combined Authority’s joint Strategic Economic Plan – itself the result of 10 years’ economic research and substantial consultation – the submission outlines proposals to develop 21st century housing and transport infrastructure, create high-quality job opportunities for all, and generate a sustainable funding stream locally to invest in future sources of growth.
At the government’s Northern Futures summit on 6 November, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that the government was seeking to announce a ‘Devolution Deal’ with the Leeds City Region as part of its Autumn Statement in December. This follows on from the LEP and Combined Authority’s £1bn Growth Deal, agreed with government in July – the largest such deal anywhere in the country.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair and LEP Board member, Cllr Peter Box said that conversations have been taking place with Treasury officials on what a devolution package might look like:
“Conversations have also been taking place at a political level. All the Combined Authority Leaders are keen to see a deal.
“However, I think we should make sure we get a deal that is a good deal rather than seek to have it included in the Autumn Statement necessarily.
“For me the most important thing is we get it right. Let’s not rush it to meet an artificial timetable.”
Scrutiny Committee members also heard that a meeting between Combined Authority and LEP Leaders and the Chancellor is being arranged, and the outcome will be reported to the next West Yorkshire Combined Authority meeting on Friday 12 December.