‘Doncaster has more potential than the rest of South Yorkshire’ – Calls to keep pushing wider devolution deal to combat Brexit effects

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A councillor has said Doncaster has ‘much more potential’ than the rest of South Yorkshire and must push on for a wider county devolution deal after Brexit.  

Coun John Mounsey, who represents Adwick & Carcroft, made the comments at a overview & scrutiny management meeting on Friday. 

Officers gave an update to the committee on Brexit and how this may impact on Doncaster come the EU withdrawal date on March 29, 2019. 

The Labour councillor said Doncaster must keep pushing for a so-called ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution deal which drew agreement from business chief Dan Fell. 

Doncaster initially signed up to the Government backed Sheffield City Region deal which is made up of the four South Yorkshire councils. 

But Doncaster and Barnsley decided to back a wider Yorkshire deal which Whitehall ministers are not entertaining. 

Mr Fell, who heads up Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, said the EU referendum result was big factor in the borough changing course. 

Coun Mounsey told the meeting: “Devolution would bring a more localised investment strategy across Yorkshire plus businesses large and small would be covered. 

“The council would be free to invest in housing, care and education.

“My honest opinion is this – with no deal or some kind of deal, we must push Yorkshire devolution to get the best benefits after Brexit. 

“Doncaster is part of Yorkshire and has much more potential than places like Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham.”

Mr Fell in response said: “I agree with John (Coun Mounsey) but I’m not pitting this as a Sheffield City Region versus a Yorkshire devolution deal. 

“When the Yorkshire deal came into play one of the main things that changed it was the EU referendum result 

“Yorkshire has a population of five million people with a recognised brand with some scale. That becomes way more meaningful in light of Brexit referendum than before it.

“I absolutely believe Yorkshire-wide devolution is the right end goal to go down but that’s the politicians to decide the journey but the vision is really compelling. 

“It’s a brand that has national attraction – I’ve never been oversea and said I’m a Sheffield City Regionman. The Yorkshire brand will help us grow overseas but bringing inward investment and tourism to Doncaster.”