Yorkshire Party urges Government to “Listen to Yorkshire”

The Yorkshire Party has called on the Government to respect the results of the Big Yorkshire Conversation Survey and give Yorkshire Scottish-style devolution.

Yorkshire Party Leader Bob Buxton said: “The results are clear. Three-quarters of Yorkshire people support more powerful devolution, and a clear majority would vote for a Yorkshire Parliament in a referendum. Let’s give the people of Yorkshire what they want – real local powers and fair local funding.”

“Devolution can revolutionise transport. Instead of being London’s poor-relation, a West Yorkshire mass transit system could be a reality not a distant dream. Beeching cuts could be reversed across Yorkshire, such as the York to Beverley line. The Borders railway has been re-opened in Scotland with great success – powerful devolution improves transport.”

The survey showed that only 7.5% of Yorkshire people thought metro mayors were the best form of devolution. Dr Buxton continued: “No one ever chose mayors. They have very little power, very little funding and how is it right that one person should represent millions? Let’s have powerful devolution instead.”

“People are proud of their Yorkshire identity, including people who were not born here but chose to make Yorkshire their home. But we need transport to be proud of, fair funding for education and the opportunity to lead the way in new green technologies and green jobs. We need the opportunity to unleash our enormous potential. The people’s verdict is clear: it’s time for powerful devolution. It’s time for fair funding. It’s time for Yorkshire.”

2 thoughts on “Yorkshire Party urges Government to “Listen to Yorkshire”

  1. In 1974 all bus fares in South Yorkshire were fixed at 10p adult and 2p child. Anywhere in South Yorkshire. By 1978 it was costing more to collect the fares than the money amounted to. The roads were relatively free of traffic and the buses were well used. Studies showed few traffic jams and pollution levels far lower than today. Routes were speeded up as the fare structure was very simple.
    The idea was to make the buses zero fares by 1984, paid for by a precept on the rates and no longer shackled by the cost of collecting fares. It was the first Universal Basic Service since the post war period.
    1979 saw fares forced up by 400% which began the decline. Had the fares just increased with inflation adult fares would be about 50p a journey, an illustration of just how corrupt and expensive the system became. In the process we lost 60% of routes and passengers as few could rely on them. Full deregulation accelerated the process. At first Stagecoach was offering free buses in certain areas but once the opposition had gone the money started rolling in.
    Across the world free buses are becoming an essential tool in the fight against climate change. Tallin and Dunkirk are the easiest to read about. They bring economic benefits as they release money to spend locally. They reduce car use and free the roads up to make cycling safer.
    Meanwhile in the country and county that can justifiably be called a pioneer of public transport billions are wasted providing private companies and a myriad of management with an income and a service beyond satire. Even in London the cost of franchising – keeping the private sector involved – is in the hundreds of millions. The idea that Greater Manchester is going to produce a transport revolution without the massive subsidies TfL has is pie in the sky. Or even South Yorkshire where the part time MP and part time mayor Dan Jarvis hasn’t the gumption to look back at the proud history of the area and bring some pride back.
    Just for once why don’t the Labour Mayors across the North look at what works, what saves money, what improves lives and bloody well get on their feet and argue for it and demand it!

    A 1% rise in income tax would raise £7 billion, more than enough to make all current bus fares zero fares and start to rebuild the publicly owned transport fleet and replace the 60% lost routes.
    For the average tax payer that’s about £80 a year. Many people who rely on buses they spend between £800 and £1200 a year on fares. Even the dimmest Tory might begin to realise we are being had. Pay a bit more tax and keep more of your money instead of handing millions to managers and off-shore tax avoiders.

    The minimum fare of £1.55 so favoured by Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan will still cost you at least £372 a year. £80 a year extra tax will still save you nearly £300 a year. In the sticks you’re looking at an effective non inflationary pay rise of between £700 and £1100 or more a year.
    Ever got the feeling your being had?

    And if you have a bus service you can rely on you you can get rid of your car and save at least another £3,500 a year. Big shop? Bus in taxi home.
    We can clean up the planet, save local economies, get fitter and healthier, stop breathing particulates and polluted air.
    If we want to.

  2. I think Mike makes a few good points here. Tallinn made public transport free because of “social urgency”. When I look at proposed figures for the production of electric vehicles, it just makes me cringe. The numbers will simply lead to complete gridlock and the cost is horrendous. It looks as though we have learned nothing at all from the climate emergency.

    The problem is, as I see it, that most of the public transport infrastructure is in private hands so it would cost a fortune to bring it into the public sector. The money will not be forthcoming from this government. I would agree with Mike that this is something that the Labour Mayors should be demanding. It makes environmental sense and it makes economic sense so it would be vigorously opposed by the Conservative government. If only we had an opposition!

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