WEST YORKSHIRE council leaders have been told the Government wants to end the deadlock over giving the area more powers over its own affairs by the end of this year.
Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid has written to them calling for a meeting to discuss options “with a view to concluding a deal as soon as possible this year”.
Next month areas around the country, including Greater Manchester and Tees Valley, will hold elections for new ‘metro-mayors’ who will take on powers in areas such as transport and skills. But council leaders, Members of Parliament and the Government have been unable to agree similar arrangements covering West Yorkshire.
A variety of proposals have been floated including a mayor for West Yorkshire or one for the whole of Yorkshire. Business leaders in West Yorkshire have expressed concerns that other areas which have agreed so-called ‘devolution deals’ will have advantages unless the deadlock can be broken.
In his response to Mr Javid’s letter, West Yorkshire Combined Authority chairman Peter Box, the leader of Wakefield Council, wrote: “We are all frustrated by the collective lack of progress, so I support strongly your desire to conclude a deal as soon as possible this year.”