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Regional devolution

On Friday 4 September, Hull City Council set out, in a submission to government, a compelling case for combining the economic, social and cultural assets of ‘Greater Yorkshire’ in its proposals for regional devolution.

The paper informs the ongoing debate regarding the role, purpose and establishment of Greater Yorkshire Devolution and of the Leeds City Region Combined Authority. It also adds further considerations that seek to strengthen the ability of a wider Yorkshire devolution agenda to delivery greater economic prosperity. The ‘central’ aspects of this greater delivery will be to ensure that the Hull Functional Economic Area delivers its part of a central economic belt represented by the economic connectivity routes from the Port (and thereby Europe) into West Yorkshire and beyond, ultimately to Liverpool on the West coast.

That economic and connectivity relationship has already been established in a UK economic context through the Northern Powerhouse. The paper presents the economic and spatial synergies that are both currently present and have the potential to deliver more.

Complementary economic sectors between Leeds and the Humber offer potential for greater combined economic growth rather than competition, building on inherent strengths of industries and skills bases, creating a very strong offer to international markets.

In terms of the government’s ‘Productivity Agenda’, the ability of individual city regions to 'work together' is a key competitive advantage for the North, with the simple and basic economic facts that proximity means more effective business connections and innovation spill over which can help ‘rebalance’ the UK economy.

Hull’s devolution submission, which has been developed following extensive discussions with public and private sector partners, acknowledges that more time is required by all parties to agree on a Greater Yorkshire scale of ambition, while emphasising Hull’s role as the Northern Powerhouse’s Gateway to Europe and an economic driver for 500,000 people in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

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