The Yorkshire Declaration

This declaration will be read out loud on 1st April 2024 to mark the 50th anniversary of the implementation of the 1972 Local Government Act which abolished the thousand year old East, North and West Ridings of Yorkshire. We are seeking 100 signatories to this declaration from across Yorkshire, representing the county’s beautiful diversity of identities, faiths, histories and cultures. This declaration will be published online by Citizen Network and promoted via the media. Please do give us your support.

We, citizens of the Ancient Kingdom and cultural province of Yorkshire, with its three historic Ridings and its former capital city of York, nowadays part of England within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, make the following declaration:

Yorkshire has for too long been regarded and treated by London-centred monarchs, landed aristocrats and political leaders as little more than a colonial outpost, whose resources and people are there to be exploited for personal enrichment.

In the early twenty-first century, differences between the more prosperous parts of Southern England and those of the North in terms of community wealth, personal well-being (enhanced health and life-expectancy) and career opportunities, have been allowed to become ever wider.

It has been rightly said that “England is highly centralised, with far greater regional economic inequalities compared with other Western European countries” and also that so-called “Levelling Up” can only be achieved by properly resourced English Devolution. Further studies show how Local Government has over the last decade been systematically starved of financial resources with 95% of UK tax revenues now being seized by central Government and 75% of expenditure controlled by Whitehall and Westminster. This is a shocking democratic failure.

We note that London, by far the most prosperous Region of England has, since 2000, had its own directly elected Assembly of 25 members. The elected Mayor of London is directly answerable to this democratically elected body. Yet in contrast in Yorkshire, even the Government Office for Yorkshire & The Humber Region in Leeds, was closed by the Coalition Government in 2012 as a so-called austerity measure. Even what little we had was taken away.  

Yorkshire is a Region of over 5.4 million people, almost identical in population size to Norway, Denmark and Scotland, and rich in natural and human resources. It should be one of the most prosperous Regions in both the UK and Europe. Yet astonishingly Yorkshire has a GDP per capita less than half that of London and significantly less than the UK and European average. This is the direct result of decades of over-centralised Government neglect, asset stripping and mismanagement.

Despite this, central Government investment, including the partially aborted HS2, continues to be directed to the South East. Government funding for transport per head is now three times higher in Greater London than in Yorkshire. Leeds remains the largest conurbation in western Europe without a modern Rapid Transit system and even the main Trans Pennine railway linking Yorkshire with other Regions of the North has yet to be electrified.

We believe that only through a strong and effective system of Regional Governance, as established in other more economically successful European countries, can Yorkshire fulfil its true potential. The French, Germans, Austrians and Swiss with their Régions Métropoles, Länder and Cantons, all trust their regions to lead the way, enabling people to come together and take control of their own destinies.

We ask every Yorkshire-born man and woman, of every background and faith, as well as those who have come to Yorkshire from elsewhere to settle, live and work, to support our campaign to ensure that Devolution for Yorkshire is a key commitment within the manifestos of all politicians in Yorkshire seeking our vote for the coming General Election. London already has its own Assembly. Devolution must ensure that Yorkshire likewise has a democratically elected Assembly or Parliament of its own, but crucially via proportional representation. This must include devolution of responsibility for tax-raising and budgetary control to this new level of regional governance, as well as to the elected Metro Mayors and to our local authorities.

Yorkshire is a proud and beautiful part of Northern England, with its own distinctive history, magnificent landscape, rich culture, ancient Anglo-Viking dialect of English and a gifted, creative workforce. The biggest single barrier to its future is that it is treated by arrogant and complacent Whitehall and Westminster as an outpost of a now long defunct Empire.  

It is time for change. It is time for real Devolution in England. It is time to recognise the United Kingdom as a dynamic partnership of Nations and Regions, including an England of nine equally proud English Regions, one of which is Yorkshire.

This petition for Devolution for Yorkshire is hosted by Citizen Network and supported by an alliance of groups and individuals including : Transforming YorkshireYorkshire Devolution MovementIndependent Constitutionalists UK.

To sign the petition, please follow the link below. The Yorkshire Declaration has achieved its initial target of 100 signatures but people can still sign the petition if they wish to do so. This also gives supporters the opportunity to sign-up to the Devolution Yorkshire mailing list which is also hosted by Citizen Network.

The Declaration was signed by 100 Yorkshire citizens and read at the Eye of York on 1st April 2024 to mark the 50th anniversary of the implementation of the Act of Parliament that abolished the thousand year-old East, North and West Ridings of Yorkshire.

One thought on “The Yorkshire Declaration

  1. Evidently The Yorkshire Declaration has reached its target of 100 signatories and it will be formally launched at the beginning of April. It is not clear at present how people will be able to support The Declaration once it has been formally launched, however, a conference is planned for 31st July. Details of the content and format of the conference will be released in due course.

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