Local leaders meet virtually on devolution deal worth at least £1.8bn in Government investment

Members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority met remotely today to agree the next steps to deliver the West Yorkshire devolution deal.

16 April 2020

Members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority met remotely today to agree the next steps to deliver the West Yorkshire devolution deal which will unlock more than £1.8 billion in investment to drive up living standards through better transport, improved skills and stronger businesses, while tackling the climate emergency. 

This important meeting took on even greater significance for the region than was planned, as members looked to a future now impacted by a global pandemic, throwing a vital focus on recovery.

The Combined Authority, in partnership with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, has been focusing on the immediate crisis and the many challenges Covid-19 presents for public transport, our economy, businesses our partners and communities.  This urgent work is being done in tandem with informed and considered planning about how the region’s economy will work towards recovery.

A wide range of active measures have already been put in place to support businesses through the crisis, and progress continues to be made on pre-crisis plans, including work on the West Yorkshire devolution deal.

The meeting was held on digital platform Zoom, rather than in person, allowing members to safely undertake an important review of the issues affecting the region during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The deal, the biggest ever of its kind, was announced in the Spring Budget and will unlock decades of significant investment across West Yorkshire. A public consultation will take place later this year.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said:

“It’s only a few weeks since we signed the devolution deal for West Yorkshire.  So much has happened in the intervening period but the powers and resources the devolution deal brings into the region are now even more vital given the economic recovery we, as regional leaders, now have to navigate. Working together as a region, we will be in a strong position to ensure these resources are focused and maximised to support our recovery, delivering a better future for everyone who lives and works here.

"These are sombre times, but the devolution deal we have achieved gives us hope and confidence that we can re-build our economy.”

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and member of the Combined Authority, said:

“The powers secured through this deal mean we can focus on making the right decisions that will enable the recovery and future economic health for this region specifically, making key decisions here without asking permission from Whitehall and Westminster.  This will be incredibly important across the board. For example, the ability to intervene more directly in local transport and in the operation of local bus services will help us generate a fit for purpose transport system for the future.”

People can view a recording of the meeting on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority website at www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk. The agenda and papers for the meeting are available in the website’s Governance and Transparency section.