YEP Says, May 15: What price are we willing to pay for devolution?

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THREE years after Leeds rejected the concept of Boris Johnston-style metro mayors, the city finds itself having to revisit the issue.

THREE years after Leeds rejected the concept of Boris Johnston-style metro mayors, the city finds itself having to revisit the issue.

Despite assurances from David Cameron and George Osborne that they’re committed to empowering the North, it’s now clear that full devolution will now only be available on their terms.

Outlining the full range of powers that will be handed to Greater Manchester in return for their embracing the mayoral model, the Chancellor turned the screw yesterday when he said: “I will not impose this model on anyone. But nor will I settle for less.”

After signing off a deal for Leeds prior to the election that was second-rate by comparison, the price of proper devolution could not be clearer.

The rise of the SNP means there’s a risk of the city and the rest of Yorkshire losing powers and influence unless the issue of mayors is reconsidered.

But it will not be straightforward – not least because voters clearly didn’t believe in 2012 that the benefits of metro mayors would outweigh the costs of creating another tier of bureaucracy and the knock-on effects for local democracy. Nevertheless, three years down the line Leeds is at a crossroads and must consider what price it’s willing to pay for the chance to directly shape much-needed transport and infrastructure improvements.

It’s back to the future for M&S

MARKS & Spencer stepped back in time and returned to its humble roots as a ‘penny bazaar’ at Kirkgate Market.

The event, part of the Museums at Night initiative, was an inventive way to highlight the famous chain’s origins and bring its rich 130-year history to life.

Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer couldn’t have foreseen the scale of their firm’s future fortunes. However, their retailing recipe still holds true today. They sold quality products sold at reasonable prices with first-rate customer service – values honed in Yorkshire and to which Marks & Spencer must stay true if it is to ensure future success.

PIC: Simon Hulme

YEP Says: Bringing streets to a standstill is not good for Leeds