The Guildhall in Hull.
The Guildhall in Hull.

Government announcement on a devolution deal welcomed by Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire councils

The leaders of Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Councillor Daren Hale and Councillor Jonathan Owen, have welcomed the government’s announcement that they will begin negotiations on a ‘County Deal’ devolution agreement for Hull and the East Riding.

The opportunity for a Hull and East Riding devolution deal was announced as part the government’s Levelling Up White Paper published today. The deal could unlock a multi-million-pound strategic investment in the region.

In March 2020, both councils confirmed their intentions to work closely together to progress a strong and ambitious case for a regional devolution deal between the two authorities.

The councils identified four key priorities in their business case:

  • Create an integrated low carbon transport network and ensure the continued success of our ports.
  • Increase productivity by providing our workforce with the skills needed for the future, as well as supporting innovation and competitiveness.
  • Promote inclusivity which creates economic opportunities for everyone, including tackling health inequalities and the persistent cycle of poverty and benefit dependency.
  • Deliver a sustainable future through clean energy generation, sustainable development, adaptation and resilience.

Councillor Daren Hale said: “We are pleased that the government has today committed to working with Hull and the East Riding to start negotiations for a ‘County Deal’ for our area. We have been pressing for local devolution for a number of years and our latest proposals were submitted to government last September, laying out a compelling case for devolution to Hull and East Yorkshire.

“We want to work with government to focus on our economic growth opportunities and shared priorities. Our commitment to formally work together brings with it the benefits of a larger geographic and more diverse area and our proposals are very ambitious, so that we could punch above our weight as one of the smaller devolved regions.

“Our proposal is not for a Mayoral deal, because our area is too small, but for a strong Combined Authority chaired by one of the council leaders on a rotating basis.

“Focusing on the key themes of connectivity, productivity, inclusivity and sustainability, we now look forward to progressing our discussions with government over the coming months.”

Cllr Jonathan Owen, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “East Riding of Yorkshire Council welcome the invitation from Government to negotiate a ‘County Deal’ for Hull and the East Riding. This could enable us to realise significant benefits for our residents, our businesses and our wider economy.

“Key themes and priorities have been identified to enable growth opportunities and benefits to a larger geographic area. We look forward to working alongside the government and our neighbouring authority to support future investment opportunities in East Yorkshire.”

Our proposal is based upon the two local authorities formally working together, through the formation of a Hull and East Riding Combined Authority, on areas of shared focus, challenge and opportunity, such as economic development, transport and skills. This does not mean that our two authorities will be joined together.

 

A Combined Authority is a legal body set up using national legislation that enables a group of two or more councils to collaborate and take collective decisions on specific areas across council boundaries. It is far more robust than an informal partnership or a joint committee. The creation of a Combined Authority means Hull and the East Riding can be more ambitious in our joint working and can take advantage of new powers and resources devolved to us from national government that could not otherwise be accessed. Whilst Combined Authorities have to be established by Parliament, they are locally owned and have to be initiated and supported by the councils involved.

The formation of a Combined Authority follows a prescribed process which is set out by the government and, if Government agrees to the ambitious and transformational proposals, a formal public consultation will take place when the detail is clearer as part of that process.

The proposed model for a Hull and East Yorkshire County Deal is based upon what we believe will work best in our area, building upon years of successful joint working across one of the country’s strongest functional economic areas, contributing £13.4bn GVA and home to over 24,000 businesses and 600,300 people.

Through the proposed Hull and East Riding Devolution Deal, we are committing to:

  • Continue to lead on the clean growth and net zero agenda
  • Deliver on levelling up and placemaking
  • Focus on businesses and skills and deliver on Global Britain.
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