What will the Yorkshire Parliament do for me?

So, measures are in hand to reinvigorate the Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament but there are still a lot of significant unanswered questions.

What will the Yorkshire Parliament do and how are we going to pay for it? How will the Yorkshire Parliament make me better off? Improvements to culture, community, democratic accountability are fine but paying the bills, access to jobs, decent healthcare and proper education systems are probably more important to most people.

Yorkshire has a GDP (gross domestic product) per capita of around $30k. The UK as a whole comes in at around $50k. Yorkshire is probably on a par with countries like Estonia at $28k and Slovenia $29k. Yes, GDP is a blunt instrument, but we are only looking at very basic comparisons here. The point is that, strictly speaking, Yorkshire does not earn enough money to pay for decent healthcare, transport, education etc. and our standard of living looks set to decline rather than improve.

Our peers are probably Scandinavian countries such as Denmark ($69k), Sweden ($61k) and Finland ($53k). I believe that Yorkshire should be aiming for a standard of living equivalent to these countries which should, at least, allow its citizens to enjoy good levels of public service.

It is interesting to note that Ireland has a GDP per capita of $107k. There is no doubt that Ireland is a special case because of certain aspects of its entrepreneurial flair. Is this an example of what can be achieved once outside the dead hand of Westminster? Personally, I have my doubts. As previously stated, Ireland is a special case. It took a long time to achieve what has been achieved and develop all the relationships that they have developed, but nevertheless their success is apparent for all to see.

I know many of my colleagues aspire to the sort of democratic system employed by Switzerland. I believe this is a great aspiration, but Switzerland also has the economy to support it. GDP per capita there is around $88k.

The thing is that, at the moment, I don’t yet see the sort of answers I would like to see coming out of the Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament. It may be very early days, but the “what’s in it for me and how are we going to pay for it” questions have not yet been properly addressed.

Another problem that Yorkshire faces is the lack of good, effective leadership. Can the Campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament fill this apparent gap?

The last point is that the Levelling Up White Paper did not come with any additional funding. In my opinion, this speaks volumes for the government’s commitment to the policy and also raises concerns for the future prosperity of our region.

In conclusion, something needs to be done to address Yorkshire’s problems, but would a parliament be up to the task? In my opinion, the full case for a Yorkshire Parliament has yet to be made.

R. J. Honnoraty
17 March 2022

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