Minister wants powers deal

Jake Berry
Jake Berry
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A KEY MINISTER is hopeful Leeds will soon strike a deal with the Government to take more control over its own affairs.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry suggested the Government is keen to strike a so-called devolution deal with Leeds and its neighbours.

Devolution deals involve the Government agreeing to hand over powers and money in areas such as transport and skills.

Areas agreeing devolution deals have to elect a mayor to oversee the new powers.

Mr Berry, who visited Leeds today for the first time since becoming Northern Powerhouse Minister after the General Election, said: “These deals are bottom-up, they are not about Government coming in and saying ‘you will have this type of deal’ and we are hoping Leeds and the surrounding areas will come forward with a really exciting and ambitious plan for a combined authority with a mayor and we look forward to hearing from them.”

Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster and Sheffield have together agreed a devolution deal worth £30m a year but political and legal arguments have delayed the election of a mayor until next year.

A number of proposals involving Leeds have been suggested including deals covering West Yorkshire, the wider Leeds City Region or an area known as Greater Yorkshire.

During his visit to Leeds, Mr Berry was briefed by council officials on plans for the city’s south bank and their connection to the development of the HS2 high speed rail line into the city.

Mr Berry said the redevelopment of the area linked to the overhaul of Leeds station represented a “huge opportunity” for the city.