The first meeting of York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority has taken place – marking another major milestone for devolution in the region.
Monday's (22 January) meeting included confirmation of the Combined Authority’s constitution, budget and statutory officers. This allows the organisation to officially launch on 1 February.
The Combined Authority is brand new for the region. Created by local authorities working together, powers and funding are moving from Westminster to the Combined Authority under the leadership of a mayor, who will be elected on 2 May this year.
The role of the Combined Authority is to deliver the region’s devolution deal. This includes £540 million for the mayor to invest over 30 years. Further funding and powers are also being devolved to York and North Yorkshire to improve transport, housing, skills and to help the economy transition to net zero.
The Combined Authority will work with local authorities to invest across York and North Yorkshire, maximising the combined strengths of the city region and rural powerhouse. As the organisation launches, in 2024/2025 the programme funds being delivered into the region stand in excess of £44 million.
Leaders of City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council are members of the Combined Authority, and were at the meeting in County Hall, Northallerton.
North Yorkshire Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, who chaired the inaugural meeting of the Combined Authority, said: “Today’s meeting represents the latest significant step to bringing the benefits of more local decision-making powers and millions of pounds in additional funding to York and North Yorkshire for hundreds of thousands of people.
“The Combined Authority represents a powerful means of ensuring these benefits are delivered for residents and businesses alike.
“It will be vital in ensuring that the full potential of the devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire comes to fruition, bringing better jobs and improved skills and training as well as major environmentally-friendly projects and more affordable housing to the region.
“Devolution has been a long-held ambition for York and North Yorkshire, and it is a key policy for the Government’s levelling up agenda to tackle regional inequalities across the country.
“We are committed to making sure that we can bring the maximum benefits to the public, and I am looking forward to making sure that North Yorkshire Council is at the heart of this while working closely with City of York Council, the Combined Authority and the new mayor.”
Cllr Claire Douglas, Leader at City of York Council, said: “Today’s meeting is another significant milestone and is testament to the tireless efforts of the many across York and North Yorkshire who’ve helped to make devolution a reality.
“The Combined Authority presents significant new opportunities for our region and we will continue to work with colleagues in North Yorkshire and the mayor, when they are elected, to deliver for the people of York and North Yorkshire.
“This means delivering more sustainable and affordable housing, increased investment in transport, tackling the climate emergency and growing our economy for the benefit of everyone.”
Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young, said: “The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority (YNYCA) held its inaugural meeting today. This is a key milestone in getting the new Combined Authority up and running, adopting its new constitution and laying the foundations for the first mayoral election on 2 May 2024.
“Establishing the YNYCA and electing a Mayor for York and North Yorkshire were key elements of the area’s devolution deal. Implementing the deal means more powers and decision-making being transferred from London back to the region and further empowering local leaders in delivering for local businesses and communities.
“The York and North Yorkshire devolution deal also includes a commitment from Government to provide more than half a billion pounds of funding to be invested in local priorities and projects over the next 30 years.”
Devolution timeline – key moments
1 August 2022. A proposed devolution deal, negotiated between the City of York and North Yorkshire councils, the Government, and local authorities, is announced for York and North Yorkshire.
February 2023. Results of regionwide public consultation, which showed support for plans, and the scheme for devolution were submitted to the Secretary of State following decisions by City of York and North Yorkshire councils.
20 December 2023. York and North Yorkshire’s devolution order comes into force, having been through Parliament. This allows powers to move from Westminster to the region.
22 January 2024. First meeting of York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.
1 February 2024. Launch of York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.
2 May 2024. An election to appoint a Mayor for York and North Yorkshire.