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City of York Council considers first steps of devolution for York and North Yorkshire

Published Thursday, 16 July 2020

City of York Council will consider the first step towards progressing devolution at July’s Executive meeting (23 July 2020).

Devolution, which is typically focused on boosting local economic growth, could see powers and funding transferred from Westminster, to York and North Yorkshire. There are many steps that need to be taken before a deal is agreed. The first major step provides York the opportunity to present a series of ‘asks’ to Government, which would outline what the city would like to see if a devolution deal is agreed.

Taking place at meetings throughout July, each local authority in North Yorkshire is being asked to agree to begin the process of negotiating a devolution deal by agreeing the “asks” to Government.

A devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire could potentially unlock significant investment over 30 years, with a focus on improving the economic prosperity and future long term opportunities for all residents. Under these proposals York would receive a proportion of this investment across a range of programmes, with specific funding requested for:

Infrastructure and Place: A £64m York Place Fund to lead regeneration and cultural activity projects across the city, including;

  • £14m to support the delivery of the York Station Frontage project
  • £10m of funding to deliver York Riverside Walkway
  • £28m to deliver Phase 1 of York Castle Museum’s Castle Capital Project
  • £8m to support the delivery of Castle Gateway
  • £3m to support the implementation of York’s Cultural Strategy
  • £1m of funding to transform secondary shopping areas
  • Seek to work with Government to develop proposals to relocate a significant Civil Service or parliamentary presence to the York Central site

Innovation: £175m to develop an innovation ecosystem connecting academia, industry and policy makers (known as Bio-Yorkshire), with a further £3m for bio-tech incubator hubs and £15m for a bio-tech innovation accelerator to bring visibility to Bio-Yorkshire as a global centre of excellence.

Tourism: Co-development of a tourism plan between York and North Yorkshire and Visit Britain with joint investment in future.

Housing: Unlocking and delivering a proportion of 20,000 homes, working with the MOD, and a share of a £96m Strategic Housing Investment Package including affordable homes on council sites (such as York Central)

Skills and Adult Learning: £10m low carbon skills programme to up-skill the existing workforce in low carbon industries together with a devolved Adult Education budget.

Given the importance of getting a devolution deal that provides the best opportunities for York businesses and residents, and the significance of the deal in terms of longer term future prosperity, residents are being invited to find out more at a Facebook live Q&A on Thursday 16 July and share their thoughts about whether to ask for a devolution deal at all via Our Big Conversation.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“Any devolution deal has to be right for York and be of direct benefit to our residents, communities and businesses, and that is why we are submitted a series of ‘asks’ to Government to see what investment and benefits are on the table for York. Agreeing the ‘asks’ to Government is a first step, and should we agree to continue to progress a devolution deal for the region, there will be further consultation to come.”

“Given the potential scale of investment tied to devolution, I would strongly encourage everyone to visit to find out more and have their say on what a deal could look like. I look forward to answering residents questions on the #AsktheLeaders Facebook live in the weeks to come, as we discuss the Council’s Big Conversation.”

The Council’s Executive will discuss the proposed ‘asks’ of Government at a meeting of the Executive on 23 July 2020, in order to agree the ‘asks’ before they are sent to the Government for consideration. If conversations between the Councils and Government progress, a governance review will be required to take place, including a full consultation with residents, communities and businesses, before decisions are made at Executive and then, Full Council.