Philip Bartey, Autism Plus.
Nick Hill

Yorkshire devolution deal: Philip Bartey, Group CEO of Autism Plus

As devolution has once again become the current hot topic in Yorkshire, Bdaily is now going to put a spotlight on the progress of the proposed ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution deal.

Ever since the agreed £900m devolution deal for the Sheffield City Region (SCR) was postponed, there has been a question mark as to when, or if ever, a deal will be struck to see our region’s local authorities gain powers devolved from the government.

Throughout Autumn, Bdaily is setting out to give the business people of Yorkshire the opportunity to voice their opinions on the prospect of a ‘Yorkshire One’ devolution deal.

This week I spoke Philip Bartey, the group chief executive of Autism Plus, which is based at The Exchange Brewery in Sheffield.

Hi Philip, so do you believe that devolving powers from the Government to regions across the UK is a good idea?

Powers are already devolved to Scotland and other parts of the U.K. It is essential that Yorkshire has a voice.

Could you give a brief explanation as to why you support or don’t support a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal?

I very much support a Yorkshire- wide deal. Breaking Yorkshire into sub regional structures will serve to dilute the combined strengths of the region. Whether we like it or not, Yorkshire has to compete not only with Scotland, Ireland, Wales and London but also on the global world stage.

If it can stand united as a region it is unbeatable. Post Brexit we need to trade in Europe but let’s not forget that 85% of world trade takes place outside the EU. Therefore we need a strong Yorkshire Regional offer.

Sheffield City Region previously agreed to a £900m devolution deal before it was postponed. Do you think having devolution deals for different parts of the region is beneficial or detrimental towards Yorkshire’s economy?

I think it is detrimental. Taking a short term view by grabbing a bag of money from government takes no account of the longer term. It will be easier for government to divide and rule the sub regional areas and confuse our position on the world trade stage. We need to negotiate with government to get a better deal from government. We can only achieve this by uniting the region and standing together.

What issues do you think will greatly benefit from a devolution deal?

Funding for transport, infrastructure and better connectivity form a good starting point for planning growth, inward investment and exports by re launching Yorkshire as a powerful player on the world stage.

Do you see the devolving of powers help you/your business? If so, how?

A United Yorkshire will improve our economy and prospects for all Yorkshire businesses. From a position of strength we will be in a stronger position to negotiate a better deal from government, encourage growth, investment and more jobs.

Many believe that a Yorkshire devolution deal would be a major step towards realising a Northern Powerhouse. Do you agree?

I very much agree. Linking our economy across the North West will revolutionise the north of England.

What would mark a successful devolution deal for you?

For government to give Yorkshire more power and control and in so doing improve our standing within the UK and on the global stage as the strongest region in England.

However, we are very good at introducing more layers of government on top of existing layers. We cannot afford increased levels of bureaucracy so my caveat would be we need to deal with the current unsustainable level of public services.

As powers to the region increase we need to reform and reduce the number of local authorities operating across the region where there is too much duplication and cost.

Do you believe Yorkshire is better off with a region-wide devolution deal? Why not get in touch to share your views. Please contact Editor Nick Hill.

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