A new authority has launched today, unlocking millions of pounds of investment for York and North Yorkshire.
Formation of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority will see more than £540 million coming to the region, with further funding for housing, transport, skills and net zero schemes moving from central government to be controlled and invested locally.
The first working day of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority was marked with a launch event at York Guildhall. The launch included exhibitions from businesses, community groups and academic institutions, showcasing the innovation and partnership working which exists in the region. Leaders from City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council highlighted the combined strengths of the city region and rural powerhouse and the opportunities ahead for greater devolution in the north by working with other Mayors and Combined Authorities.
The devolution deal for the region, worth more than £540 million over 30 years, will be delivered through the Combined Authority. The first year will see more than £56 million delivered, which includes projects to build hundreds of new homes and schemes to help the region transition to net zero.
The Combined Authority will be led by the first Mayor for York and North Yorkshire, following elections on Thursday 2 May. The Mayor will work with City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council to deliver devolved funds and attract new investment. In May, the existing Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner role will also become the responsibility of the Mayor.
The first working day follows the Combined Authority’s inaugural meeting on 22 January, where the constitution, budget and statutory officers were confirmed. This was attended by leaders of the constituent councils, North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council.
North Yorkshire Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “We have waited a long time to bring the benefits of devolution to hundreds of thousands of people in York and North Yorkshire. These benefits will make a real difference to people’s lives, whether that is creating more affordable housing, improving skills and training, creating better career opportunities and promoting the green sector to protect the environment. The launch of the Combined Authority is a major moment in realising what devolution actually means for the residents and businesses of North Yorkshire. It will allow us to have more decisions made locally and also the responsibility for hundreds of millions of pounds in extra funding from the Government. We now have a powerful organisation to achieve this, and as a council we are looking forward to working closely with colleagues at the Combined Authority and City of York Council, as well as the new mayor when they are elected in May.”
Cllr Claire Douglas, Leader of City of York Council, said: “It was fantastic to join local stakeholders to mark the first day of the Combined Authority and the start of a new era for our region. I want to thank everyone across York and North Yorkshire who has been involved in making this happen. One of York’s Council Plan priorities is to make the most of devolution and we are looking forward to getting on with the job in the coming weeks, months and years by working closely with our North Yorkshire partners and the new Mayor. While we are all rightly proud of where we live, our region does face challenges, especially around housing, transport and the cost of living crisis. Making devolution a success means delivering for our residents and businesses by investing in sustainable and affordable housing, tackling the climate emergency, transforming transport and boosting our economy for the benefit of everyone."
Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young, said:“Today’s launch event is an important milestone in delivering our devolution deal and unlocking more than half a billion pounds of committed long-term funding for the area over the next 30 years. Implementing this devolution deal and establishing the new Combined Authority means powers and funding will be transferred from London to God's own county of York and North Yorkshire. More decisions will now be taken locally with investments made to address key local priorities and drive delivery of key projects. Devolution continues to be a key priority for this government, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Combined Authority, councils and the new Mayor in due course as the region begins this new exciting chapter.”
Front row, from left: Cllr Peter Kilbane, Deputy Leader of City of York Council; Cllr Claire Douglas, Leader of City of York Council; Richard Flinton, Chief Executive of North Yorkshire Council and James Farrar, Director of Economy & Interim Head of Paid Service at York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, with attendees at the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority launch, York Guildhall, on Thursday, February 1.