by jamesbaker on 24 June, 2015
The County of Yorkshire is being carved up into various regional bodies called combined authorities. Currently we have a West Yorkshire combined authority that includes Calderdale, Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Wakefield and York, and a South Yorkshire combined authority that includes the Sheffield City region, Barnsley, Doncaster, and Rotherham. These new bodies have a lot of power but local people have no chance to elect politicians directly onto them. Politicians get simply appointed onto these bodies from the Councils to which they were elected.
This creates an undemocratic and piecemeal devolution, what for instance happens to districts like Selby and Harrogate or the Humberside which are left out of the combined authorities? What happens if you don’t like the politicians running the combined authority given you don’t get to say who they are?
Now we are told in order to be granted any more powers each of these new combined authorities would have to have a directly elected Mayor. This will centralise political power in the hands of one person, rather than distributing it to a wider group of people with a range of experience and political views.
As Liberals we believe power is best wielded when it is devolved to the people. That’s why we would like to see a Yorkshire parliament with similar devolved powers to those of the Scottish Government. In terms of size Yorkshire is very comparable to Scotland, and there is no reason a Yorkshire parliament couldn’t be making decisions about how things are run rather than civil servants and ministers down in London.
Such a parliament could be elected on a proportional system as happens in Scotland. This would allow the views of people who vote UKIP, Green and Liberal Democrat to be heard and represented in the new parliament. It would have proper democratic oversight, and allow for proper debate on topics and issues. Yorkshire is a proud and powerful region, and it deserves to have it’s own unified voice and it’s own parliament.1 Comment