The landmark £1.8 billion West Yorkshire devolution deal became law on Friday, after the devolution order was approved by the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and signed into law by Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP.
This marks the beginning of a new era for West Yorkshire – the devolution deal will bring at least an additional £1.8 billion of public investment into local control over the next 30 years, and enable the five councils and the Mayoral Combined Authority to improve the lives of local people by supporting transport improvements, adult education, skills and jobs, infrastructure, housing and regeneration, and the region’s economic recovery.
The people of West Yorkshire will be asked to elect the first Mayor for the region in May 2021. The Mayor and the Mayoral Combined Authority will have greater ability to deliver investments in a way that will make a real difference to people and communities in the region.
In a joint statement, West Yorkshire’s five council leaders, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe (Bradford), Cllr Tim Swift (Calderdale), Cllr Shabir Pandor (Kirklees), Cllr Judith Blake (Leeds) and Cllr Denise Jeffery (Wakefield) said:
“We are delighted that Parliament has agreed to turn our landmark £1.8 billion devolution deal, the biggest of its kind, into law.
“Devolution will help unleash our region’s full potential and in doing so raise living standards for our communities and help us make a full contribution to the UK economy. It is a crucial step in ensuring that issues that really matter to the people of West Yorkshire are prioritised, including our recovery from COVID-19, through greater local investment and decision-making powers.
“The deal puts the people of West Yorkshire at the heart of devolution.
It incorporates findings from the public consultation carried out last summer – the largest ever public consultation on English regional devolution with over 4,400 responses.
“We look forward to the election of the first Mayor for the region in May 2021, and working with them to improve the lives of everyone in West Yorkshire.”
What is the devolution deal?
The devolution deal will give West Yorkshire communities a greater say about the issues that affect them, plus extra investment to deliver on local priorities. This will include a £100 million+ a year single investment fund for the whole of West Yorkshire, with the Mayor and local council leaders deciding how this will be spent. The first Mayor of West Yorkshire will be elected in May 2021.
The devolution deal builds on more than 15 years of successful partnership working between West Yorkshire councils and the wider Leeds City Region, which includes securing the £1.2 billion local enterprise partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, – the country’s largest – establishing a £1 billion Transport Fund to deliver local transport improvements in West Yorkshire and York. Extra investment already came to the region ahead of the deal becoming law and the region has joined the M9 group of mayoral combined authorities, giving it stronger national influence alongside the other elected mayors in England.
What is the devolution order?
The devolution order, a legal document setting out the powers and functions of the Mayor and how the Mayoral Combined Authority will operate, has been written based on the devolution deal agreed between the councils and the Government in March, and findings from the eight-week public consultation carried out by the Combined Authority and West Yorkshire councils over the summer – the largest ever public consultation on English regional devolution with over 4,400 responses. The findings from the consultation were supported by most of the people who participated.
How will devolution benefit the region?
The regions devolution deal aims to bring:
- £38m for 30 years into West Yorkshire Investment Fund with a 25%/75% capital/revenue split
- Government commitment to work with West Yorkshire to develop a modern mass transit system through access to a new five-year integrated transport settlement
- £317m from the Transforming Cities Fund to dramatically improve access to public transport, cycling and walking
- Access to bus franchising powers
- Control of the £63m annual Adult Education Budget for West Yorkshire to closer align spending on skills to the opportunities and needs in the local economy
- A £25m fund to support the development of a British Library North in Leeds
- £500,000 of Government funding to support master-planning in Bradford City Centre to maximise regeneration opportunities from Northern Powerhouse Rail
- Funding for the next stage of development of the Outline Business Case for Leeds station redevelopment.
- The creation of a West Yorkshire Mayor to be elected in May 2021
- The transfer of policing and crime powers from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
- Government commitment to engage with the Combined Authority on priorities emerging from the Future Ready Skills Commission
- Access to the Government’s new Brownfield Regeneration Fund to support housing growth and £3.2m to support the development of a pipeline of housing sites across West Yorkshire
- £200,000 funding to support the work of the Yorkshire Leaders Board
You can find more information about devolution and what it means for the region at: https://www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/about-us/becoming-a-mayoral-combined-authority/