Doncaster mayor Ros Jones: ‘One Yorkshire devolution not dead in the water’ after Prime Minister pours cold water on proposal
Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has said the One Yorkshire devolution proposal is ‘not dead in the water’.
Her comments to the Doncaster Free Press come after South Yorkshire metro mayor Dan Jarvis was knocked back by Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons.
The PM told the Mr Jarvis, who is also MP Barnsley Central, the wider Yorkshire proposal ‘did not meet’ the Government criteria - and urged him to implement the £900m Sheffield City Region deal.
But Mayor Jones said all parties were still ‘very committed’ to the process even after Wakefield Council leader Peter Box called on other local authorities to look at other deals.
Council leaders from Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley and Sheffield all signed a deal with the then Chancellor George Osborne for devolved powers and £900 million in cash over 30 years.
But Doncaster and Barnsley said they wanted to support a wider Yorkshire proposal. Around £25 million is still left unspent due to the deadlock in South Yorkshire.
Mayor Jones said Doncaster Council officers are still in talks with civil servants in Whitehall and added she ‘has a mandate’ from the people of the borough to get this done.
“All the people part of One Yorkshire are still very committed and this is cross party and believe it’s the best option for the county,” she said.
“I’m not convinced this is dead in the water I think what they are trying to do is looking at different scenarios but I think people know the some of the whole is greater than some of the parts and believe we may need interim solutions to finally get us there.
“We accept that it would be a devolution that’s not as large because it would actually equate to Manchester and the West Midlands in terms of people – about five and half million and that’s the size of some countries.
“This is a once in a life-time opportunity for the people of Yorkshire to actually have the advantages and close the gap of the north south divide.
“We’ve got officers talking to civil servants, that’s as much as we can do.
“I will continue to go to the One Yorkshire leaders meeting and I still believe the two deals can be delivered at the same time.
“Government want to make it happen and they have been given the economic case of why it should happen.
“I don’t know what Government is worried about – I believe it would make a massive input to UK PLC.
“I’ve got a mandate from the people of Doncaster and that they want to see a wider Yorkshire deal.
“I would love Rotherham and Sheffield to join us in a one Yorkshire deal but that is for them to decide – they may wish to go out to their residents and ask them (in a community referendum) but It is not for me to tell them what to do.”