Devo is right for West Yorkshire

Devolution has been the buzzword of the year, with clusters of councils across the country bidding to government for the powers to make more decisions locally, rather than have major issues decided behind closed doors in London.

In West Yorkshire, we have been in prime position to benefit from devolution since our successful Combined Authority was formed in April 2013.

I believe our bid – including the five West Yorkshire councils and York, Craven, Harrogate and Selby, and backed by local business – is still the one that offered us the best economic bang for our new powers buck. Variations of the grouping of councils, while still also putting together good bids, stretched the area to be covered – included a whole of Yorkshire cluster, and a bid termed greater (although it could be called minor) Yorkshire, as it did not include the Sheffield area.

I asked people to take part in a poll as the devolution debate throws up different consequences. And until there is a deal on the table offered by government, we don’t have to make a decision. But I am interested in the general thoughts of local people – not the pressure groups who have made their positions clear already, or the political groups who may or may not have wider agendas.

The three questions I asked were:

  1.  Do you think having things decided regionally is better than having things decided for us by Whitehall in London?
  2.  Do you think an elected regional mayor is a good way to make decisions locally?
  3.  If you like the idea of regional power what area would you want?

In all, 191 people had their say. The outcomes are interesting – it seems pretty much all of us want to have more decisions made here, and that an elected mayor is a price worth paying for that. And there is no clear view on what the geographical boundary of the new body should be.

 Do you think having things decided regionally is better than having things decided for us by Whitehall in London?

91% said Yes, 9% said No

Devolution 1

Do you think an elected regional mayor is a good way to make decisions locally?

54% said Yes, 46% said No

Devolution 2

If you like the idea of regional power what area would you want?

West Yorkshire – 29.55% 52

Leeds City Region (Kirklees, Calderdale, Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield, Selby, Craven, Harrogate, York) – 29.55% 52

All of Yorkshire – 35.23% 62

All of Yorkshire without South Yorkshire (Sheffield area may be part of a North/East Midlands region) – 5.68% 10

15 skipped the question.

Devolution 3

Many thanks to all who took part.

 

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