North Yorkshire’s rural communities set to benefit from devolution – The Scarborough News

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Business leaders and councillors are among those who say proposals for devolution will give a greater say for local politicians in York and North Yorkshire to improve prosperity, provide better job opportunities and boost transport links across the county.
The proposed 30-year deal would give the opportunity to tackle deeply ingrained problems blighting countryside communities, including a lack of affordable housing.
The deal for York and North Yorkshire would see the introduction of an influential mayor who would become a figurehead for the region and forge close links with the Government.
The planned 30-year agreement, with total funding of more than £540 million for York and North Yorkshire, is set to help tackle regional inequalities by not only reducing the North-South divide nationally, but also helping to resolve economic differences between urban and rural areas.
North Yorkshire County Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring greater parity for the region, allowing us to have more decision-making powers and a greater say on where money can be directed and spent to benefit the hundreds of thousands of people who live and work in York and North Yorkshire.
“The vital services provided by councils in York and North Yorkshire will continue, and the devolution deal will allow major projects to be developed with millions of pounds of extra funding.
“I truly believe that this proposed deal is one that will work for everyone, and countryside communities will be at the forefront of our efforts to tackle a wide range of issues from improving skills and education to bringing in more investment to the region, helping improve transport links and providing much-needed affordable housing.”
The independent North Yorkshire Rural Commission, the first of its kind nationally, was established by the county council in the autumn of 2019. It was launched to tackle a host of issues affecting the countryside, and an overriding theme in its findings was the need for the Government to provide a devolution deal for North Yorkshire.
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Reverend John Dobson, who was the commission’s chairman, said: “It was clear to the commissioners that devolution is essential for real decision-making to be made on a regional level to address many of the biggest issues facing countryside communities.
“The announcement of the proposed deal is extremely encouraging, and the opportunities ahead are immense. This is a major step forward and one to be welcomed.”
The new mayor, who would be elected in May 2024 if the proposed deal comes to fruition, would lead a new powerful combined authority that would oversee strategic projects ranging from major transport improvements and boosting skills and education to providing more affordable housing.
North Yorkshire County Council, City of York Council and district and borough authorities undertook negotiations with the Government to draw up the proposed devolution deal.
Councillors will now review the proposed deal over the summer and collectively decide whether to proceed to a consultation with the public.
The consultation could then take place later this year if councillors give the go-ahead at their respective executive and cabinet meetings.

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