20 June 2024

East Riding councillors back sending devolution deal to Parliament 

by Joe Gerrard

East Riding councillors have voted to send the East Yorkshire devolution deal to Parliament.

They passed the decision before a meeting on Thursday, June 6, when Hull councillors will decide whether to go ahead.

East Riding Council’s Conservative leader Cllr Anne Handley said the move would mean better skills training, job opportunities, transport improvements and more investment for the area.

But Labour’s Cllr David Nolan, the only councillor who voiced opposition to the deal in the meeting, said there was no mandate for a mayoral authority following a “one-sided” consultation. If Hull councillors also approve sending the deal to Parliament, it will then be up to MPs to decide whether to legally establish the Hull and East Yorkshire mayoral combined authority.

If they do, it will see an authority established later this year, run by an elected mayor with a poll likely to take place in May 2025. The mayor and authority will have powers over transport, skills, economic development and other areas, and receive £13 million a year in extra funding over 30 years.

Several East Riding councillors spoke in support of the deal, welcoming the additional investment and it putting an end to the area being left behind others with mayoral authorities already established. The deal they backed on Thursday, May 16, is the third version for Hull and the East Riding since the first floated in 2020, which also included a mayor.

It came after previous Humber-wide proposals failed to get support when North and North East Lincolnshire councils decided to opt for a Greater Lincolnshire deal. Other East Riding councillors said that, while they had reservations about the deal, they would back it as the only one on offer.

Cllr Handley said East Yorkshire was now the last place left in Yorkshire without a deal. She said: “Everywhere else across the north is getting a deal and they’re getting on with them and it’s working. It’s been a long trek to get here but this is the right way forward.”

Liberal Democrat opposition leader Cllr Denis Healy and Labour leader Cllr Steve Gallant also spoke in favour of the deal. Cllr Nolan said he was in favour of devolution but he did not support a mayor.

The Hessle ward councillor said: “The consultation was supposed to demonstrate deep and wide support for this deal but 43 per cent of residents opposed a mayor and 42 per cent supported one. There’s clearly no mandate from residents, the combined authority is going to cost £2 million and the mayor will have the authority to add a precept to council taxes and possibly bring in business rates.”

The meeting also saw the newly elected East Riding Council chairman Cllr Linda Bayram come to blows with Cllr Healy as she interrupted his speech accusing him of politicising devolution during his speech. He had criticised previous Labour and Conservative administrations in Hull and the East Riding respectively in failing to secure a deal.

Cllr Healy said the interjection was out of order and it is understood that he has since filed a formal complaint. Conservative Cllr Bayram, of Howdenshire ward, succeeded outgoing Independent North Holderness ward’s Cllr John Whittle in the position. Independent Cllr Liam Dealtry, of Bridlington Central and Old Town, was voted to become the authority’s new deputy chairman.