£1 billion devolution deal for West Yorkshire
The deal which covers Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, paves the way for the creation of a new mayor and Mayoral Combined Authority.
The devolution deal will bring at least an additional £1.8 billion of public investment into local control over the next 30 years, and enable the five councils and the Mayoral Combined Authority to improve the lives of local people by supporting transport improvements, adult education, skills and jobs, infrastructure, housing and regeneration, and the region’s economic recovery.
In total, this means that the Mayoral Combined Authority will have access to over £1.1 billion to invest into the region. The Mayor of West Yorkshire will also become the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
The deal comes six months after neighbouring South Yorkshire got its own deal approved. West Yorkshire has a combined population of 2.5 million, almost twice the size of Sheffield City Region.
In a joint statement, West Yorkshire’s five council leaders, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe (Bradford), Cllr Tim Swift (Calderdale), Cllr Shabir Pandor (Kirklees), Cllr Judith Blake (Leeds) and Cllr Denise Jeffery (Wakefield) said:
"Devolution will help unleash our region’s full potential and in doing so raise living standards for our communities and help us make a full contribution to the UK economy. It is a crucial step in ensuring that issues that really matter to the people of West Yorkshire are prioritised, including our recovery from Covid-19, through greater local investment and decision-making powers."
"The deal puts the people of West Yorkshire at the heart of devolution. It incorporates findings from the public consultation carried out last summer – the largest ever public consultation on English regional devolution with over 4400 responses."
The region will now elect its first ever mayor in May who will oversee an annual £38 million budget, new powers over transport, education and housing and regeneration, as well as control of the Adult Education Budget.
The devolution deal builds on more than 15 years of successful partnership working between West Yorkshire councils and the wider Leeds City Region, which includes securing the £1.2 billion local enterprise partnership (LEP) Growth Deal – the country’s largest – establishing a £1 billion Transport Fund to deliver local transport improvements in West Yorkshire and York.
Extra investment already came to the region ahead of the deal becoming law and the region has joined the M9 group of mayoral combined authorities, giving it stronger national influence alongside the other elected mayors in England.
West Yorkshire is only the third region, after Greater Manchester and London, whose Mayor will become the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner. The Mayor will be the public’s voice on policing matters, set the police budget and will also be responsible for decisions around police property, rights and liabilities.
West Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority will take on many education functions for their area. They will establish targeted adult education provisions and manage their devolved adult education budget from 2021/22, helping boost economic growth.
Regeneration and housing
The deal provides significant powers to the Mayor and Combined Authority to improve the supply and quality of housing and facilitate the regeneration of West Yorkshire. Working closely with Homes England, the region will be able promote housing and regeneration through new powers including on land acquisition and disposal.
The deal also gives the Mayor the power to designate mayoral development areas. This is the first step in establishing a Mayoral Development Corporation in the area.
The Mayor will have control over the region’s transport budget, with the power to pay grants to the five constituent councils to improve and maintain roads. The Mayor will also be able to pay grants to bus service operators for eligible bus services operating within the region.