In a rare but welcome consultation exercise voters in Barnsley and Doncaster are invited to take part in a ‘community poll’ on what sort of devolution they prefer.
Sheffield and Rotherham have signed up to the Government backed ‘Sheffield City Region’ model while the leaders of Barnsley and Doncaster Councils now support a wider ‘One Yorkshire’ plan for devolution.
The lack of a voice to speak for the whole of Yorkshire when important Government decisions are being made means that the County is disadvantaged when matters like transport and infrastructure are discussed. Greater Manchester, London and the West Midlands are taking advantage of devolved power to improve transport links and infrastructure and the Yorkshire Region must be given the same opportunity.
Yorkshire is different to ‘City Regions’ in that it covers a large area and contains a number of middle-sized Towns and Cities which are unsuitable for ‘City Region’ status. The East Coast is an important part of Yorkshire and is often forgotten where transport is concerned. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is obviously ignorant of Northern matters and Yorkshire in particular which explains why he is making decisions which are plainly wrong. Cancelling electrification schemes such as the main London line from Corby to Sheffield and the Trans-Pennine route may save money in the short term but, if they went ahead, Yorkshire, The North and the Country would benefit economically from greater efficiency and productivity.
I urge the voters of Barnsley and Doncaster to send a message to the Government that Yorkshire people are tired of being treated like second-class citizens by voting overwhelmingly for wider ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution.
Scaftworth Close, Doncaster, DN4