Harrogate to vote on joining Leeds devolution deal

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HARROGATE COULD join Leeds and other West Yorkshire authorities to agree a deal with the Government that would see the area elect a mayor next year.

Harrogate councillors will be asked next month whether they want to be part of an area known as the Leeds City Region to take over powers and money currently controlled by the Government.

As part of the deal, the Government would ask the councils involved to create a new mayor who could be elected as soon as next year.

Harrogate has been at the centre of a tug-of-war between West and North Yorkshire councils over which group to join to agree a so-called devolution deal with the Government.

Harrogate Council leader Richard Cooper insisted the decision to put Leeds City Region devolution to council members did not mean the authority was ruling out the Greater Yorkshire option.

He said: “The recommendations to the council don’t close off any options but clearly when one option looks likely to come to fruition then we have to discuss it.

“As soon as there’s a Greater Yorkshire deal we can put in front of councillors, a deal done with ministers, then I will put that in front of councillors for a free vote but at the moment it doesn’t look as if that can be done by March.”

The Government has struck a series of deals across the North of England that will give areas new powers in areas such as transport, skills and planning.

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