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Devolution would give ‘fairer deal’ to region

First Minister Alex Salmond speaks in the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, where he said that a Bill to pave the way for a vote on Scottish independence is part of a

First Minister Alex Salmond speaks in the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, where he said that a Bill to pave the way for a vote on Scottish independence is part of a "historic package" of new legislation. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 4, 2012. Mr Salmond announced 15 Bills to be introduced to Holyrood over the coming parliamentary term, including a Bill to legalise same-sex marriage and one which is claimed would give families the greatest level of free childcare in the UK. See PA story SCOTLAND Government. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Civic leaders in South Yorkshire have backed called for a devolution of powers similar to Scotland for Yorkshire.

Politicians have backed York Council’s call for the creation of a Royal Commission on the relationship between Whitehall and authorities, to give them a bigger say in how taxes are raised and spent.

It comes as the Communities and Local Government Select Committee examines ways in which financial powers can be brought back to a more local level.

Such a move could mean a fairer deal for South Yorkshire in areas such as council housing rent rises, which are set to increase by more than six per cent in Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham this year in accordance with Government guidelines.

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett, Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, said: “I’ve long argued Yorkshire gets a raw deal from Westminster and Whitehall.

“With a population larger than Scotland, we have nothing like the investment or freedom to use resources in the way available to politicians north of the border.

“I shall be arguing a Labour government in future should build on the potential of the city regions, which would allow devolved power to our area on major decisions affecting the lives of local people and much greater co-ordination across Yorkshire.”

Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, said: “If we are to serve the whole nation effectively, we have to develop ways of governing which respect and allow for local and regional differences and enable different localities to do things differently, appropriate to their circumstances.

“There is concern about the growing disconnect between the politicians who govern and the people governed.

“Making decisions which matter at a local level is more likely to lead people to feel more engaged because real change can be achieved as a result of their involvement.”

 

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