Since the beginning of November ERYC has been in overdrive promoting the devolution deal which will result in a combined mayoral authority.

The leader of ERYC Ann Handley and Wolds Weighton Councillor Leo Hammond have worked hard try and raise interest in devolution, but I get the sense that the public are not engaged. Which is a pity because a new Mayoral Authority would result in more money for our area and will significantly change the way we are governed.

For this reason I would urge you to complete the online survey:

I would also encourage you to question some of the claims which are being made about this being a great deal. £13.4m a year is welcome extra cash for an authority starved of funds by the current government.

However, the current ERYC combined Capital and Revenue budget is £448 mill. Assuming that East Riding would get half the devolution cash, that’s £6.7m a year or 1.5% of the current annual ERYC budget. Given the fact that the council will almost certainly increase next years council tax by the maximum of 5%, the devolution bonanza claim is suspect.

The publicity so far focuses on more resources for coastal towns, Hull and Goole. I have read nothing which persuades me that Pocklington, Market Weighton or the villages would benefit in any way. Indeed there is a risk that our area would see more housing developments given the Mayor would have the power to create development areas and control housing and land acquisition.

Given the importance of devolution it is sad that both Hull and East Riding leaders decided on a consultation exercise instead of a referendum.

I am also hearing from multiple sources that dissenting members of the controlling Conservative group are being silenced and told to support the deal because it’s the only deal on offer.

David Nolan the former leader of the Liberal Democrats claims that the leader of Hull City Council Mike Ross has admitted to him that it was a poor deal but the “only one on the table”. He claims to have spoken to Councillors who think the deal may have some pluses at best, but it is not a “game-changer”. It’s a long promise note with little or no guarantees of funding or timescales. They don’t want a Mayoral authority but see no alternative. In public it is being presented as a “game changer”, by people who know it isn’t.

If he’s right, we are being badly served by the councils Conservative leadership team.

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