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Dr Sentamu to lead bid for devolved ‘One Yorkshire’

16 August 2019

ARCHBISHOP OF YORK

The Yorkshire flag flies at Bishopthorpe Palace on Yorkshire Day, 1 August

The Yorkshire flag flies at Bishopthorpe Palace on Yorkshire Day, 1 August

THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, is to lead a delegation, to Whitehall, of Yorkshire’s political, business, and social leaders who are calling for a single over-arching authority to boost the county’s development.

Last year, a proposal to devolve some powers currently held by central government to an elected mayor was rejected by the then Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, who said that it did not meet the Government’s devolution criteria. Instead, ministers supported a separate South Yorkshire solution, involving Sheffield and Rotherham.

After that, on Yorkshire Day (1 August) last year, the Archbishop launched the One Yorkshire Committee to fight the campaign for devolution to a single entity covering the entire county. On 8 October, he will join the committee’s delegation lobbying the Secretary of State and his Opposition Shadows.

Dr Sentamu said: “I simply want to act as convenor, to make sure the necessary dialogue happens, for the sake of the common good. Let us listen, and let us speak. Talk of One Yorkshire is a conversation that needs to happen — for the benefit of all the people of God’s own county.

“Many peoples, boroughs, councils, and counties, but One Yorkshire working together towards a strong, prosperous, diverse, creative, and open Yorkshire. A place of shared opportunity.”

John Grogan, the Labour MP for Keighley and co-chair of the committee, said that a greater sense of urgency was needed. “The lack of progress on devolution is hurting the people of Yorkshire,” he said. “The economic case presented to ministers shows that One Yorkshire devolution would result in a £30-billion boost to our economy: up to £5400 extra growth per person, per year, in the Yorkshire economy.

“Yorkshire’s potential can be achieved through building on the ‘Yorkshire’ brand, increasing inward investment, promoting exports, and improving transport and skills. However, this will only happen if we take back more control of our destiny from Whitehall.

“Yorkshire is losing out to Manchester, the West Midlands, and Liverpool, who all have mayors’ banging the drum for their areas. As a General Election begins to look ever more likely, Dr Sentamu will be leading a big effort to get all the political parties to commit themselves in their manifestos to democratic devolution of power for Yorkshire by 2022.”

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