East Riding councillors agree to explore mayoral combined authority devolution dealFri 30th June 2023
East Riding councillors from all political parties have agreed to explore the benefits a level three mayoral combined authority devolution deal would bring to the East Riding and Hull.
At a meeting of East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Full Council, members backed the motion to explore the deal “at pace” and agreed that any potential deal would be subject to residents’ consultation and endorsement before implementation.
Members were given the opportunity to have their say on the devolution plans after East Riding leader Councillor Anne Handley and Hull City Council leader Councillor Mike Ross agreed to hold talks with the Government to look at the option of an elected mayor.
The combined authority deal would involve the two councils working together on strategic issues such as economic investment and transport while the delivery of day-to-day services would firmly remain the responsibility of each individual authority.
The option to include a mayor as part of a devolution deal would potentially see the East Riding and Hull, representing East Yorkshire, secure more funding from central Government and would give each authority and the public more say in where the money was best spent.
The proposal for a mayoral authority is a move away from the county deal currently on the table, which would involve the switching of power between the two authorities annually, with no elected mayor.
The East Riding and Hull are the last two authorities in Yorkshire without a devolution deal, which was acknowledged by members who also recognised the economic and social benefits a level three mayoral combined authority deal could bring if the right deal was secured.
Members also agreed that residents would also get to have their say on any proposed deal, with the method of consultation and endorsement to be agreed by group leaders and the council’s overview management committee, in consultation with the council's cabinet.
Councillor Handley said: “I am pleased that all East Riding councillors from all parties have recognised just what potential an elected mayor could bring to the East Riding and Hull and have agreed to explore options at pace.
“We are the last two authorities in Yorkshire not to have secured a devolution deal and we are now playing catch up but, in the meantime, East Yorkshire is missing out on the economic benefits a deal could bring.
“I need to make it clear though, we will not be combining with Hull and becoming one authority, we will simply be working together on strategic issues like transport and economic growth.
“East Riding of Yorkshire Council will continue to work as we’ve always worked, and Hull will do the same, as independent organisations delivering our own services for residents and not merging together.”
Liberal Democrat councillor, Councillor Denis Healy and leader of the opposition, said all members backing the exploration of a mayoral deal sends a “strong signal of unified intent”.
He added: “I don’t think there is any doubt that the need for a decision on the question on a devolution deal for Hull and the East Riding is long overdue and there has been a sense of confusion and uncertainty hanging over this issue for at least three years and in that time, everyone else in Yorkshire has managed to secure a deal while we’ve been left isolated and alone.
“The Liberal Democrats are not enthusiasts for the concept of mayors, but we’re open to collaboration, to open our minds and if it’s possible that a level three mayoral deal offers the greatest devolution of powers to the region then it is right to be open-minded and explore a way forward.
“But when we have explored a deal and have something tangible on the table, we need to put our residents first and through consultation, listen to what they have to say and get their endorsement, and I know Cllr Handley feels very much the same.
“We need to move this forward together in the right way and the backing of all members sends a strong signal of unified intent.”