North of England “Devolution?” Proposal

Yesterday’s Sunday Times carried an article in which Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse Minister, was quoted as saying: “With so much economic growth, it is time for the government to consider a department for the North of England, with its own secretary of state”. He went on to say that we should not close our minds to the localisation of taxation, northerners feel dis-empowerment and a lack of control over their lives, and that each region across the north should have its own bespoke devolution deal.

These proposals were also covered in today’s Yorkshire Post where there was a mixed reaction. John Grogan, MP for Keighley, hoped that the proposals might translate into a willingness by the government to start serious talks about One Yorkshire devolution. The editorial considered that whilst the proposals should be welcomed, they lack detail.

Our view is that the creation of another Whitehall department is not devolution. At the moment the proposals are just vague ideas with no substance at all about how they might work in practice. On the other hand, if these ideas lead to serious talks to progress Yorkshire devolution, then that would be another matter altogether.

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