THE last of West Yorkshire’s five local authorities has agreed to support the West Yorkshire devolution deal.

After Kirklees Council endorsed the deal at a meeting on Wednesday evening, all five councils and the Combined Authority have given their approval to kick-start the parliamentary process that will deliver the investment and decision-making powers to the region agreed in the landmark West Yorkshire devolution deal.

Councils and the Combined Authority have all held public meetings over the past 10 days to consider the findings from a public consultation on the deal, and gave their consent to submit a summary of consultation responses to the Secretary of State for Communities, Housing and Local Government, Robert Jenrick. The Government will now begin the Parliamentary process to cement the devolution deal in law.

Support from the Councils now means the deal will progress to Parliament, with voters set to elect the first West Yorkshire Mayor in May 2021.

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A public consultation into the proposals saw 4,400 West Yorkshire residents give feedback, with the majority supporting the proposals, although many raised concerns about added bureaucracy.

And at a meeting of Bradford Council on Tuesday afternoon Independents, Greens and Liberal Democrats all criticised the deal.

The devolution deal, which West Yorkshire’s five council leaders agreed with the Government in March 2020, will bring at least an additional £1.8 billion public investment to the region over the next 30 years, plus greater freedoms to take decisions locally on the issues that affect communities.

In a joint statement, West Yorkshire’s five council leaders, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe (Bradford), Cllr Tim Swift (Calderdale), Cllr Shabir Pandor (Kirklees), Cllr Judith Blake (Leeds) and Cllr Denise Jeffery (Wakefield) said:

“Our West Yorkshire councils have now consulted on the mayoral devolution deal, and submitted the findings to Government. We are pleased that it has the backing from our respective councils and the large majority of those who responded to our public consultation. It is now over to the Government to prepare the draft legislation.

Our local areas are already seeing the benefits of the deal through the early funding we’ve secured to develop brownfield sites for housing, deliver much-needed transport improvements and support people to develop the skills to find good work in a challenging job market.

“COVID-19 has highlighted just how crucial it is that decisions which affect local communities are taken by people who know and understand those communities, supported by the investment to deliver on local priorities. This deal is the critical starting point to ensuring West Yorkshire is able to make the strongest possible recovery from this crisis and prosper in future.”

The eight-week public consultation on the devolution deal was a key part of the legal process to establish a mayoral combined authority for the region to take on the new powers and investment. It was the largest ever public consultation on English regional devolution with over 4,400 responses.

Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, will use the consultation findings to decide whether the devolution proposals reflect the interests and identities of West Yorkshire’s communities. If agreed, a legal document known as an “order” will be produced, setting out how the powers and functions of the Mayor and mayoral combined authority will operate. West Yorkshire’s councils will be asked to give their consent to this order in November 2020, with mayoral elections due to take place in May 2021.