THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, has led a delegation to Westminster to press the case for an over-arching body responsible for the economy of the whole of Yorkshire.
He was accompanied by the leaders of 18 Yorkshire councils, MPs from across the political divide, and representatives of the county’s main businesses who want government approval for an all-encompassing scheme known as One Yorkshire, instead of the piecemeal arrangements currently in place.
At separate meetings with Labour and Conservative representatives (on 8 October) they tried to persuade both parties to commit to the deal in their election manifestos. Afterwards, Dr Sentamu said that he felt, for the first time, that “we were being listened to, whereas, before, I haven’t perceived that actually there was enough listening.
“It is very clear now, for me, more than ever before, that this is a chance in a generation to be able to talk about One Yorkshire, especially in those areas where there has been some devolution, like in Leeds and in South Yorkshire. We’ve got to support them so that they actually get all the power. But, in the end, we are hoping that the game will end up with One Yorkshire.”
Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Green Party are keen on the plans, but discussions with Conservative ministers, who tend to favour smaller, single-city deals, are still ongoing. The Prime Minister, however, told regional leaders at a conference in Rotherham last month that he was open to discussions for a transfer of powers to cover the entire region.
Dr Sentamu said: “I think if this time it isn’t done, we are losing a great economic success. And the other thing is, in our nation, which at the moment because of Brexit, we all sound very divided. There would be nothing more wonderful as a message of reconciliation.”