A business voice matters in a bid for Hull and East Yorkshire devolution, Chamber members have been told.
Hull City Council leader Mike Ross, who is working with his East Riding counterpart Anne Handley and their respective teams to secure a combined authority deal, addressed the Hull-area council of Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce. He was joined by his chief executive, former chamber president Matt Jukes and Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy.
Cllr Ross highlighted that Hull & East Riding were the last areas in this part of the world to have a devolution deal, but it was not a case of the City Council just getting any deal over the line – it had to be a good enough deal that met the Council’s requirements.
He said: “The business voice is really important. This deal is eventually something that will go before the public and we have to get something that they will support. Time is of the essence, we need the Government to come to the table to get a suitable deal over the line in what is a very tight timescale.”
Eyes are on an Autumn Statement deadline, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to deliver it to the House of Commons on November 22.
Chief executive Matt Jukes said: “We are talking to the Government about setting up a combined authority which would be at Level Thee, and this would include an elected mayor.
“Both Hull and East Riding councils would continue to exist through a combined authority where the mayor would have control over certain issues.
“There is a lot of lobbying going on and we are very keen for the business voice to make itself heard.”
Having seen a failure to agree a pan-Humber arrangement, the council bosses highlighted that the bid was progressing in tandem with the Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal and there would be a link between the North and South banks.
Mr Jukes said: “We expect the Humber Freeport will stand as it is and the Humber Energy Board, which Chamber board member Richard Gwilliam from Drax chairs, already works well across the Humber will continue. The timing for these devolution discussions is very tight with the Government wanting an announcement in the Autumn Statement in November.”
During the roundtable discussion, Ms Hardy said: “It is important to get the right deal and negotiations need to be cross-party”. She suggested not to rush something through to then find there were regrets about not getting the best deal possible.
Cllr Ross said: “The council was clear about what it wants for the area, regardless of which Government is in power.”
Mr Jukes added: “This Government is ranking bids for things like investment zones for example, and Hull had missed out because we didn’t have an elected mayor.”
Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber