29 July 2020

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has discussed progress towards finalising a landmark £1.8bn devolution deal for the region following a public consultation on the proposals.

During the consultation, more than 4,500 people had their say on the deal, under which the first ever West Yorkshire mayor would be elected in May 2021. It would also provide new investment and powers for the region in areas such as transport, adult education and skills, and economic recovery from Covid-19.

Combined authority members discussed some of the investment that has already come to West Yorkshire as a result of the devolution deal. This includes a £67m allocation through the government's Brownfield Fund to invest in priority housing and development sites plus funding to prepare for the £63m annual Adult Education Budget for the region to come under combined authority control in 2021.

In addition, as agreed in the West Yorkshire deal, £200,000 has been allocated to the Yorkshire Leaders' Board for collaboration at a Yorkshire level.

Members also gave approval for the combined authority to join the M9 group of elected mayors, and considered how a transfer of police and crime commissioner functions to the mayor and a proposed single West Yorkshire investment fund would work.

In a joint statement after the meeting, West Yorkshire council leaders, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe (Bradford), Cllr Tim Swift (Calderdale), Cllr Shabir Pandor (Kirklees), Cllr Judith Blake (Leeds) and Cllr Denise Jeffery (Wakefield), said: "Following the record-breaking number of responses to our devolution deal consultation, it is fantastic to see the benefits of devolution already being felt in our region.

"The fact that we've already secured close to £70m additional funding for West Yorkshire and have a seat at the table in key national discussions before our deal is fully formalised is a taster of the difference devolution will make.

"There is still a huge amount of work to do to prepare for the additional investment and decision-making powers that devolution will bring, but we have made a promising start and will be taking full advantage of all the new opportunities coming our way to support our region's recovery from Covid-19."