Devolution Deal In Yorkshire Is 'Absolutely Crucial' For Northern Powerhouse Success, Says Hilary Benn MP

High Profile Speaker Addresses Audience At Irwin Mitchell’s UK Powerhouse Event


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A devolution deal for the Leeds City Region is vital if Yorkshire is going to meet its economic potential - says Shadow Foreign Secretary and MP for Leeds Central, Hilary Benn.
Speaking at an Irwin Mitchell UK Powerhouse event today (22 April), Mr Benn said that the devolution deadlock is holding the city of Leeds back from tackling the issues which affect economic expansion including transport, skills, housing and access to broadband.
The debate was hosted by David Parkin and held at Irwin Mitchell’s offices in Leeds at 2 Wellington Place. In addition to audience members having the opportunity to discuss the economic priorities for the city of Leeds, Hilary shared his thoughts on the forthcoming EU Referendum, leadership and governance, devolution, education and inward investment.
Hilary Benn MP said: "The so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is really about the people of Leeds being able to make and take decisions that affect them.

"We remain a very centralised country in terms of decision-making and I am passionate about devolution and disappointed that despite the formation of the Leeds City Region, a deal has not been done yet in Yorkshire.
“Further devolution is absolutely crucial and without it here in Yorkshire, we will not be able to tackle the huge issues that exist in relation to transport infrastructure, skills and housing.”
Unlike in Greater Manchester, Sheffield City Region, the North East, Teesside, Liverpool and West Midlands, a devolution deal has not been signed off yet in Yorkshire.
West Yorkshire councils have been pressing for a Leeds City Region, however Conservative MPs in West Yorkshire along with North Yorkshire County Council and East Riding Council have been calling for a deal covering the whole of West, North and East Yorkshire.

Mr Benn added: “There are two competing visions but it needs to be sorted. I am supporting the City Region bid and the Government needs to get on and make a decision.”
Last year, Irwin Mitchell launched its UK Powerhouse report, an extensive business study produced in partnership with economic think tank, the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr).
The free event provided an update on Irwin Mitchell’s UK Powerhouse Tracker report - a unique quarterly city-by-city forecast of the economic strength.
In the most recent version of the tracker published at the start of April, it revealed that economic growth within Yorkshire’s largest cities deteriorated in the final quarter of 2015, signalling a £1.5bn fall in the expected growth of the region’s economy in 2016. It also said that the economy in Leeds grew by 1.7pc in the 12 months to Q4 in 2015 compared to 1.9pc in Q3. The value of the goods and services produced however reached £20bn for the first time.
John Flathers, Head of Real Estate at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds, said:

Expert Opinion
“This was a superb event and it was certainly great to hear from a high profile local MP about his thoughts on the Northern Powerhouse and what he thinks the priorities for the Yorkshire region are.

“I was pleased with Hilary’s support for the leadership of Leeds and his emphasis that we all control our own destiny. His passion for his constituency and his awareness of the social problems we face show an MP who will undoubtedly fight this city’s corner. Hilary’s awareness of the world economy was impressive”.
John Flathers, Partner

For further information about Irwin Mitchell's UK Powerhouse report, click here