Yorkshire Regional Government : The Basics

York Minster Yorkshire Day

Our demands for a Yorkshire Regional Government, a fairer electoral system and the means to enable Yorkshire to achieve its real potential are consistent and soundly based. Why then, are they consistently ignored?

The Labour Party’s report of the Commission on the UK’s Future “A New Britain : Renewing Our Democracy And Rebuilding Our Economy” neglected to mention Yorkshire devolution and omitted the case for an enhanced electoral system, which should have included proportional representation.

In a sense it is disturbing that Yorkshire’s case for a devolved government has been ignored, yet again. It is also disturbing that Yorkshire always seems to be low down on the list in terms of UK investment priorities.

While these factors are disturbing, they are not surprising. Yorkshire has never had a voice; it has no powers, and it is not even recognised by Westminster. This has to change.

In May 2021 Transforming Yorkshire and Empowering Yorkshire issued the following statement as part of our submission to the House of Lords Constitution Committee:

“Yorkshire should have a regional government for the whole of the county drawn from a directly elected parliament. The responsibilities and authority for this government should be based on a Yorkshire Constitutional Settlement, citizen-framed in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.  The Yorkshire political system would be based on deliberative, participative democracy using a “fair votes” electoral system and would be informed by extensive open research, supported by an independent and democratically accountable regional media facility complying with standards of integrity, honesty, balance, and truth.”

This statement still forms the basis of our current campaign. We believe that this is a reasonable approach. The current centralised framework has deprived local authorities of the resources they need to provide a decent level of service. It consistently fails to provide Yorkshire with the recognition and level of investment that it so desperately needs.

The governmental system’s democratic credentials are also left wanting, now being totally reliant on the archaic first past the post electoral system. Far from creating stable government, this seems to lead to a dictatorship of the few. This also results in political disinterest of the many which can only further damage our democracy.

The longer the current systems continue, the more Yorkshire will decline. Much of this decline is not immediately obvious to all those who live here. You have to see other comparable places to really see how far we have fallen.

An interesting topic for discussion is that Yorkshire’s GDP is now around 50% or less than comparable areas within Western Europe. Our standard of living is now below that of some Eastern European, ex-Soviet areas. The UK is in decline, and we are by no means at the top of that heap.

The solutions are there, we just have to act on them.

Further information on why we need Yorkshire devolution can be found here.


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