Yorkshire devolution deal will '˜not be rushed'

One oF the key figures in Yorkshire's devolution debate has insisted West Yorkshire council leaders will not be rushed into a deal with George Osborne and rejected suggestions the area is falling behind Manchester.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority chairman Peter Box acknowledged ministers were likely to push for a deal to take on new powers in return for creating a new elected mayor to be completed before the Budget in March.

But he maintained he was “relaxed” that other areas were already moving forward with devolution plans.

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The Chancellor has struck agreements with groups of councils across the North, including South Yorkshire, to hand over powers and cash from Whitehall.

But West, North and East Yorkshire have failed to reach agreement as councils argue over the best way forward and have presented a range of competing proposals to the Government.

West Yorkshire councils are pushing for a devolution agreement covering themselves and neighbouring Harrogate, Craven, York and Selby, an area branded the Leeds City region.

The principal rival proposal, known as Greater Yorkshire, would create a single area wielding devolved powers across the West, North and East.

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Coun Box said: “Clearly we need to try and make sure we come to a view as quickly as possible. We believe the Government would like a deal in place before the Budget. We haven’t been complacent, we haven’t been sitting back and doing nothing, we’ve been trying to get the best deal that gives us more devolution.”