Ed Miliband backs Doncaster in bid for Yorkshire devolution deal

Doncaster MP Ed Miliband has thrown his weight behind calls for a Yorkshire wide devolution deal.

By George Torr
Friday, 26 April, 2019, 18:01
Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband alongside Doncaster mayor Ros Jones and Doncaster Chamber of Commerce boss Dan Fell. Picture: George Torr/LDRS

Speaking at an event hosted by Centre for Cities, the former Labour leader said he was ‘pretty agnostic’ about the call to devolve powers from central government to Yorkshire, surpassing the Sheffield City Region deal. 

But he changed his mind when hearing the ‘loud voice’ from Doncaster residents and businesses. 

Mr Miliband said England was ‘the most centralised country in Europe’ and went on to say devolution in Scotland and Wales was a good idea. 

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones, who was also on the panel, has been a staunch supporter of a so-called ‘One Yorkshire’ deal which is backed by 18 out of 20 councils along with Dan Jarvis as Sheffield City Region mayor. 

Doncaster and Barnsley recently reached an agreement with Sheffield and Rotherham on how to break the devolution deadlock in South Yorkshire.

The current deal would be signed in return for guarantees that any council could stay or leave to join other arrangements without the loss of any funding per capita. 

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Council leaders are awaiting a decision from ministers. 

Mr Miliband said: “We’ve got to make it happen and in my view, you can’t say as central government that you’re in favour of devolution but only the devolution that we want because the whole point of this is what do local people actually want. 

“I was pretty agnostic about the whole thing when it happened but I think the voice was loud and from both the people and businesses in Doncaster that they wanted Yorkshire devolution.

“Nobody on the doorstep is clambering for devolution but we know that if we do it it won’t get reversed. Just like in Wales and Scotland these changes happen and then you won’t find anyone who opposed it in the first place. 

“Of course, any self-respecting region of five million people is going to have proper devolution and proper powers transferred away from Whitehall.”