Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones: ‘Government need to get on Yorkshire devolution now we have hard economic case'

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones
Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones has said the economic case for a wider Yorkshire devolution deal gives the scheme ‘a real case for success’.

The monetary report, provided by Manchester-based consultants Steer Economic Development, shows a wider county deal could generate between £9bn-£30bn a year over a 20-year time frame. This amounts to £1,600-£5,400 per head.

The findings highlight Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield/Rotherham as key assets.

The independent study’s findings are included in a new submission to Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire setting out the case for a ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution deal with a One Yorkshire Mayor elected in 2020.

But the statistics have been previously criticised by BBC business journalist David Rhodes who said no devolved region had seen ‘30 per cent’ increase of Gross Added Value to their economy.

The mayor said along with 18 of the 20 councils backing the proposal, there is support from Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats across Yorkshire.  

“This is very good news - it actually shows an economic entity that some of the whole is greater than some of the parts.

“It’s been submitted to the local government secretary James Brokenshire Secretary of State and it’s hoped it will be sent to others in Government and even the Prime Minister Theresa May.

“It shows what an input it could have especially with the uncertainties of Brexit and how it will help the Yorkshire economy.

“We’ve now got the hard economics to show it can work and it’s all the different facets that make up the greater Yorkshire area.

“I’m delighted to see that we’ve been able to produce an economic case for it - I would like to see Government now getting on with this and start going through and delivering this.

BBC journalist David Rhodes tweeted: “Yorkshire Council leaders pluck mickey mouse numbers out of the air. Nowhere has devolution led to 30 per cent extra being added to a regional economy.”

Council leaders from Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster all signed a deal with the then Chancellor George Osborne for devolved powers and £900 million in cash over 30 years.

But Doncaster and Barnsley announced they wanted to distance themselves from the deal on offer and support a wider Yorkshire deal - something which isn't being entertained by the Government.

But speaking about the Sheffield City Region deal, Mayor Jones said: “We’ve never said we would prevent it but would like to see it both go in tandem.

“We don’t need to go out on consultation on this - we’ve already had a community referendum and people overwhelmingly backed a Yorkshire devolution plan.

“It all depends on Government - the ball is in their court. It’s a question of if they want to see Yorkshire at its greatest entity.  

“I think it’s the right thing for UK PLC and we start to get control of our own destiny.

“It would be wrong of Government to hold Yorkshire back by delaying things especially with Brexit around the corner.”