YEP Says, August 22: Yorkshire devolution deal needs to be for benefit of all

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SHOULD LEEDS, as Yorkshire’s biggest city, hold so much sway over the county’s future? The Loiners amongst our readers might certainly think so.

SHOULD LEEDS, as Yorkshire’s biggest city, hold so much sway over the county’s future? The Loiners amongst our readers might certainly think so. It is, however, the question that goes to the heart of a proposed devolved deal which would see Leeds, and neighbouring authorities in West Yorkshire, join forces with councils in Harrogate, Craven, Selby and York to implement new policy powers.

With local government leaders in Sheffield and South Yorkshire now seemingly intent on teaming up with authorities in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – they believe the three areas have sufficient common ground – it threatens to scupper those who believe that the whole county needs to pool its prestige and expertise to prevent rival regions, like Greater Manchester, stealing a march when it comes to economic growth.

This is a critical point. The final plan must be in the best interests of the whole of Yorkshire, not just individual cities. How will councils in the new grouping - which equates to the Leeds travel-to-work area, make best use of the powers being offered by George Osborne if they’re still uncommitted to the advent of a directly-elected metro mayor? The Chancellor’s position on this remains non-negotiable. But above all - what will it mean for the peope of our city and this great county of ours?

Come on, it’s just not cricket, is it?

One can only imagine the late great Fred Trueman’s reaction to a study by academics at Leeds Beckett University on the physical attributes required to be a successful fast bowler. For all the careful research gone into such an exercise it most definitely fails to take account of the sheer number of players who gave their wicket away because they were intimidated by the pipe-smoking Yorkshireman who actually had the chtuzpah go into the opposition changing room prior to play and announce which batsmen would make up his five-wicket haul later in the day. England might have regained the Ashes this summer, but nothing compares to the presence of this particular Yorkshire icon.

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