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Why a directly elected assembly?

The case for Yorkshire:

Economic

  • Yorkshire gets overlooked for economic investment, for example, central government originally refused the request for £10 million to aid the development of the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France, yet central government was happy to pay £24 billion for the Olympics which only benefited a small part of London.
  • Rolling stock. 87% of Northern rolling stock is built before 1980 where as 64% of Southern rolling stock is built after 2000. This is another example of the north, especially Yorkshire being given the short straw, a Yorkshire parliament will be able to better prioritize transport.
  • Being able to streamline police, fire and ambulance services (among others) will mean less overpaid managers and a more effective service while costing less.

Democratic

  • Decision making being closer to the people, choices that effect you will be decided within Yorkshire rather than 200 miles to the south.
  • Allowing Yorkshire to fight for it’s interests as one united bloc, rather than MPs pushing their own little areas.

Cultural

  • Yorkshire Day can be given a priority and by doing that it will be helping to pour money into Yorkshire’s economy.
  • Giving control of tourism to a Yorkshire parliament will help to boost the already massive tourism sector in Yorkshire. The main advantage comes from having political clout to be able to actually change things, rather than being a Non Governmental Body.

Common arguments against a Yorkshire Assembly debunked:

  1. This will be breaking up or destroying Britain/England!We don’t want to destroy the Union, or England at all, we just feel that we’re going to be in a much better place to unlock Yorkshire’s potential with our own assembly. Look at what London has achieved!
  2. These plans will just end up costing the taxpayer more.
    Building a new parliament would be expensive, however you must remember that we could use other pre built buildings to help lower the costs. We must ensure that as little of your taxes is spent on the building. Furthermore, Yorkshire wouldn’t need a separate police, fire and ambulance service for each area, instead having one Yorkshire Police force and so forth. That means less overpaid managers and more front line services working for you, too oppose a Yorkshire parliament based on these costs would be to save the penny but lose the pound.
  3. But there is no electoral mandate?YDM would support a Yorkshire wide referendum on a Yorkshire Assembly.
  4. Won’t a English Parliament sort all your problems?  Sadly not, the main problem is that an English parliament would still contain the same MPs that are currently favouring London over Yorkshire! It isn’t so much a problem of England and the home nations, more of a problem between north and south. Yorkshire needs the ability to effectually manage its economy without interference, why should a MP from West Wales have a say on our tourism laws?
  5. But isn’t Yorkshire too small? Yorkshire has a population of 5.3 million which is larger than Scotland and a GDP double that of Wales but the powers of neither. Furthermore, Yorkshire has a larger population than eight European Union countries.

The Yorkshire Devolution Movement supports a conversation with the people to determine what  powers a Yorkshire Assembly might have. Here is a list that could be considered:

  • Promotion of economic development
  • Promotion of social development
  • Promote health, safety and security of the community
  • Reduce health inequalities
  • Enhance individual participation in society
  • Improve the availability of good housing
  • Improve skills and the availability of training
  • Improve the availability of cultural and recreational activities
  • Improvement and protection of the environment
  • Additional functions and duties that the Secretary of State thinks appropriate
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31 Comments
  1. Keighley permalink

    The American English used on this website angers me. Please use ‘ise’ over ‘ize’. It is ‘favouring’, not ‘favoring’. If we were to have a Yorkshire Parliament, we get improve our education system so that people know how to spell!

  2. Nigel Sollitt permalink

    So many valid reasons why Yorkshire should have her own parliament yet, as was the case when Rt Hon David Blunkett asked the Prime Minister, not a single valid reason why Yorkshire should not has been forthcoming. Hence, the only criticism this article has received is one where the writer incorrectly claims that the use of the suffix, ‘…ize’ is not an English spelling! The truth of the matter is that as Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland and Greater London do have devolved parliaments/assemblies, there simply can be no valid reason why Yorkshire should not! It therefore follows that to continue to ignore the reasons why Yorkshire should have a devolved parliament is to continue to deprive Yorkshire and her people of the prosperity and standard of life they could be enjoying.

    • As the people of Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland and Greater London have prospered compared to Yorkshire and other parts of the UK since they gained the advantage of devolved parliaments/assemblies!

      • Tom permalink

        Not sure Wales has thrived as a result of devolution owing to the fact that there is an inbuilt Labour majority which is stifling economic growth in Wales

  3. Ian Betts permalink

    This is pie in the sky, politicising. We kid ourselves that government in Britain is democratic, The truth is that most constituencies are a shoe in for the candidate that has been chosen by about six people who represent the locally dominant party. It will almost certainly represent another layer of overpaid bureaucrats. Is there a suggestion for example that the likes of Sheffield, Hull and Leeds Councils will be expunged, or will this be a layer of government between them and Westminster. If those Borough councils are done away with, I cannot see that the local people are going to feel more closely represented by a body situated say in North Yorkshire. lmost certainly a bigger take home pay packet for themselves, don’t be bamboozled..

    • There is no suggestion that Sheffield, Hull or Leeds councils will be expunged. This is about taking a whole chunk of powers away from Westminster and Whitehall and exercising them locally in Yorkshire in much the same way as London, Scotland and Wales has devolution in its own areas.

  4. Ian Betts permalink

    Then if this is an extra body, how do we end up employing fewer public servants?

  5. Ian Betts permalink

    No I was referring to adnistrative workers,if we have an extra layer of government there has to bemre of them, I suppose the best description would be Civil servants

    • There are some who say that Westminster and Whitehall should retain just defence, foreign affairs and macro-economic policy and all other powers should be devolved to Yorkshire. In that case there would be a lot more civil servants working in Yorkshire than there are at present.

  6. Dorothy Canpbell permalink

    It has been claimed that the setting up of the Scottish Assembly reduced the number of Scottish Members of the Westminster Parliament, but that only tells part of the story. Before the Assembly, there were 79 seats for Representatives of Scotland in Westminster. After The setting up of the Assembly, these numbers remained unchanged until the fifth periodical boundary revue in 2005. This reduced the number of Scottish Representatives to 59 a net reduction of 13.
    However the creation of the Assembly created 129 new representatives or MSP’s at Hollyrood so in reality after 2005, the Scottish People now elect 70 more representatives. Taking into consideration only the comparable basic salaries, and excluding expenses plus the increased salaries of exalted assembly members, such as the first minister, this represents an increased cost to the tax payer of about £6,750,00 per annum.

    • Nigel Sollitt permalink

      Reply is attached to your additional comment below:

  7. Dorothy Canpbell permalink

    THat last figure should read £6.750,000

    • Nigel Sollitt permalink

      If your figures are correct, this would equate to roughly £2 per head of population in Scotland. Now compare that to the benefits per head of population Scotland has enjoyed by having a devolved parliament to put your claims into perspective. You will find this is considerably more than £2 per head and this explains why Scotland wants yet greater devolved power.

  8. You mention the return to pre-1974 boundaries – is this a return to County Boroughs, Urban District, Rural District and the devolved assembly acting like the former Ridings Authorities? When devolution was last on the table it was a case of two tier authorities being converted into unitary authorities and the Mets and current Unitaries staying the same. I don’t personally have a preference one way or the other but it’d be interesting to know how the movement views the local government architecture below the assembly. Thanks – interesting movement.

    • In this case a return to the boundaries of what was traditionally Yorkshire before parts were lost to Cumbria, Lancashire and the North-East. The predisposition would be towards single tier authorities, that is retaining existing Mets and Unitaries and creating a single tier elsewhere, essentially in North Yorkshire. Thanks for your support Kevin – join us!

  9. Ian betts permalink

    Things seem to have gone rather quiet since the European elections. No comments on the paltry voting return for a party funded by an individual who doesn’t even live in the UK, let alone God’s County. He seems to want us to have another layer of government that he will not be paying taxes to. Isn’t it time to stop kidding yourselves.

    • Hi Ian,

      We ran a social media campaign urging people to vote for one of the two pro devolution parties, the Greens and Yorkshire First. We also sent an election broadcast out on our newsletter (you can see that here)
      We also ran a story on our main site (http://yorkshiredevolution.co.uk/index.php/entry/yorkshire-votes)

      After the result was declared we commented on the result on our social media outlets and published a piece here on our blog (https://yorkshiredevolutionmovementt.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/european-parliament-elections-some-thoughts/)
      We have also been in contact with the lead Green candidate, Cllr Andrew Cooper.

      Since then we have published several more stories, most about the Yarm referendum, another one this morning about Scottish devolution power.

      In short, i’m not too sure what you mean by “gone quiet”.

      Also, I think it’s important to remember that the Yorkshire Devolution Movement and the Yorkshire First political party are totally separate organisations, if you have an issue with Yorkshire First, you’re better off addressing them, rather than us.

      Hope that helps.
      Gareth

  10. Matt permalink

    If you were to return to pre-74 Teesside would be split between Yorkshire and the North East. Surely having an urban area divided in this way is impractical.

  11. Ian Betts permalink

    I have previously made exactly the same comment about south Yorkshire, a great chunk of Sheffield would revert to Derbyshire. but the ‘committee delete comment that they don’t feel supports theirccause

  12. Matt permalink

    Whatever the form regional devolution took, the starting point would have to be current boundaries rather than historic. For Yorkshire this would however mean the ‘Humber’ part, i.e the two unitary authorities in northern Lincolnshire would be excluded from the area governed by a Yorkshire Assembly.

    Although being born in 1978 I can appreciate that there are many people who long for a restoration of historic county boundaries throughout England, but this would present many practical problems if old boundaries were restored for local or regional government purposes. If Teeside is divided between Yorkshire and the north-east, then logically Greater Manchester would have to be divided between historic Lancashire and Cheshire. In the West Midlands, there is potentially a three way split between Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Then there is the question of Bristol and Warrington that both straddle historic boundaries. And as Ian pointed out, the South Yorkshire/Derbyshire would be redrawn in Derbyshire’s favour, but exluding areas that should be governed as part of the borough of Sheffield.

    It is worth pointing out to many traditionalists that large parts of what became the Metropolitan Counties in 1974 (essentially their core pre-74 County Boroughs were designated as such in 1888) had never been administered by the post-1888 county councils, they had only remained part of the historic county for ceremonial purposes only.

    I am not saying that regional devolution should not be rooted in history, indeed it is more likely to gain acceptance if it is, but it shouldn’t be the sole determining factor over whether an area sits within one region or another.

  13. P Reeder permalink

    Surely we’d be better off stop being blind sheep and voting on pointless partisan lines and actually elect the person best suited to fight for the area you live.

    Sod a new layer of bureaucracy costing yet more money – no doubt the whole point of this article is to show us the way forward. I have no doubt many millions could be saved but those same millions would be used to reemploy the same people but under a very slightly different job title. Cheif of West Yorkshire Police would change his door plate to read deputy cheif in charge of West Yorks and then we’d have to pay someone to be his boss and over see the whole of Yorkshire force same with fire, teaching and especially hospitals.

    I don’t disagree with the idea in principle. However, in practice the changes you’re talking about would simply never materialize. The strange idea of keeping the councils, of all types, operating is a fatal flaw. You’d be more likely to succeed if you removed the whole lot of them and then started a new.

    • Matt permalink

      If there was devolution then two tier areas (N Yorkshire in the case of Yorkshire) would need to be abolished in favour of unitaries.

      But devolution need not be another layer of bureaucracy. The regional tier would take over certain functions of central government but the functions of the unitary authorities would remain as current. This would mean a cut in the number of civil servants in Whitehall.

      I can here you saying ‘ah but at least at the moment we achieve economies of scale centralising everything in Whitehall’. Possibly, possibly not. Devolution would allow different regions to experiment which could cost less. Devolved services should be more responsive. And maybe the current arrangements actually achieve diseconomies of scale.

      Nor need devolution mean more politicians. It should go hand in hand with a significant reduction in the number of MPs. Id go as far as cutting the number to 270. Perhaps with a 90 seat senate. Also if the a similar elector to assembly member ratio were used for a Yorkshire assembly it’d have around 15 members.

  14. Phillip A Lofts permalink

    As Yorkshire covers so much of the North it would be sensible to revert to historic boundaries of the ‘North Britain’ and include other counties up to the Scottish border. The devolved administrative area of Yorkshire and Lancashire plus other minor counties would be much stronger economically and make more sense geographically.

    • There are those who would agree with you – Campaign for the North for example: http://www.campaignforthenorth.com. We at YDM feel that as Yorkshire has a sense of identity going back hundreds of years and a population of 5 million people (the same as Scotland and several successful European countries) we have the right parameters for devolution to work effectively.

      • Paul Andrew permalink

        I think you should be careful how far you take the economic arguments. There has been a desire to centralise Police forces since the Benthamites promoted the concept of the modern Police in the late 1700’s. This has always been resisted by local people. The names ‘Peelers’ and ‘Bobby’s’ originated as an insult. Many local authorities resisted the movement until they were forced to conform in 1856. Centralised Police forces were compared to Napoleons dreaded secret police. In the end the only way Peel could get it through Parliament was by creating separate Police Constabularies. Have no doubt about it, they were formed to keep the burgeoning masses of the early nineteenth century under control by an elite based in Westminster. The arguments remain the same today. The Police should be of the local people representing them and controlled by them. Please do not promote larger, more remote forces just to save money. This is far too important a part of our democracy for that.

  15. Philip Hegarty permalink

    Irrespective of the economic gains, of which I am firmly convinced there would be many, it would be great to get our land back. To have all of the Yorkshire three peaks within Yorkshire again; have all of the Yorkshire Dales National Park back in Yorkshire again. Get our highest hill back (Mickle Fell), our (arguably) most beautiful scenery (the Howgills), Saddleworth Moor, etc. Just one question, the answer to which may already be on here somewhere but I’ve missed: would the Ridings come back into existence? I was born in them and I’d like to live in them again.

    • The return of traditional parts of Yorkshire now administered in neighbouring counties is something YDM is campaigning for Philip. We would like to see a role for the Ridings certainly although probably not administrative. What do you think?

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