The leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council has spoken to members of Goole Town Council about what devolution would look like for our region.
Councillor Anne Handley, who is a ward councillor for Goole North, delivered the talk to her fellow Goole Town Councillors during the full council meeting on Thursday, January 18, to explain the proposals and answer questions from councillors and the public.
Speaking during the meeting, Councillor Handley said: “East Yorkshire is the only part of Yorkshire which doesn’t have a Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA), and we want to have access to the same opportunities and funding that everywhere else in Yorkshire is already getting. “Some people think that devolution for East Yorkshire would mean ‘going back to the Humberside days’, but I can assure you that wouldn’t be the case. “Really the name of a ‘combined authority’ is confusing, because we aren’t combining with anybody. East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council would remain separate and continue running local services as they currently do, but they would work together on certain issues that affect the whole region. “The elected Mayor would have a direct link to Westminster and be able to directly access funding which both councils currently have to bid for. “The Mayor wouldn’t be able to make decisions on their own though, the MCA would have a cabinet made up of other members, including representatives of both council’s as well as local business leaders to ensure all sides get to have a say.” During the meeting councillors questioned Cllr Handley about topics including the cost of devolution, how the money will be distributed between Hull and East Yorkshire, who will be responsible for electing the new Mayor, the political impact of devolution and more.
Responding to some of these topics, Cllr Handley said: “Although the MCA would have the same powers as the police or fire service to raise a charge on council tax, no other MCA in the country has done this, because there is no need to. “The Mayor would access funding from the Government so we do not expect that the Mayor would need to increase council tax. “The Mayor would also work between the ERYC and Hull City Council offices, and would not have their own office. The Government has already committed money to cover the set-up and operation of this, so there would be no additional cost to residents. “The Mayor would be elected by the people of East Yorkshire and Hull and would be directly accountable to them. This isn’t about politics, it’s about economics, and no matter what colour badge the elected Mayor wears, the focus for the MCA will be getting the right thing for local people. “We’re already hearing from the consultation that the topics that matter most to people are improving transport, increasing social housing and helping small businesses. If devolution goes ahead, it would mean £400 million of investment over the next 30 years to target those things, and that would just be the start. “Securing this deal is just the first rung on the ladder and would be the key to securing far more investment in future.” An eight week public consultation is currently taking place to gauge public opinion of the proposed deal. Speaking about what would happen if the public consultation reveals a negative response to the plans, Cllr Handley said: “Personally I do support the devolution plans because I think the people of East Yorkshire and Hull deserve far more than crumbs from the table that we are currently getting, but if the people don’t want it, then we will have to take it on the chin and accept that it’s a no. “I have my opinions but the public need to make their own decisions and have their say by taking part in the consultation.”
From now until February 27, people can read the devolution proposal and give their feedback on each part of the deal at heydevolution.com. Residents can also visit any East Riding library, including those locally in Goole, Howden, Snaith, South Cave and Market Weighton, or any Hull library or customer service centre, where they can get help completing the survey using a computer or completing the questionnaire on paper. Some drop-in events have already taken place in our region, but further events at local venues will be taking place in the coming weeks including: February 2, 10-11am: Market Weighton Wicstun Centre. February 2, 12noon-1pm: Howden Library. Further information about the East Riding and Hull devolution deal can be found by visiting: https://www.eastriding.gov.uk/council/devolution/
Councillor Anne Handley says the devolution deal will mean the region is “no longer left behind”. (04-01-109 SU)