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Northern Powerhouse: New dawn or emperor’s new clothes?

This paper sets out the flaws in the current plan for devolution in the region. The GMB have great concerns regarding the future path of this latest attempt at regional power sharing devolved from Westminster.

In terms of devolution, there seems to be awareness in government of people wanting power to shift to a more local and therefore more accessible level. The trade union view is yes, it would be a good idea
to run our own affairs but transparent funding is vital. The problem is, at a national level, there seems to be a contradiction, in that devolution is promoted, yet the powers are ‘bestowed’ and local areas should be grateful for it.

The only democratic way forward is to let people vote once and for all whether they want an elected mayor - the likelihood is they don’t.

The other key issues are jobs and privatisation. Jobs are likely to be lost in vast numbers in the public sector if devolution, in its present form, goes ahead.

After considering the evidence, if we are to support any devolution, it is my view that stronger powers should to be devolved to a Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Assembly.

An assembly with powers similar to those devolved to Scotland; an assembly with teeth that has genuine powers handed down from national government to include some tax-setting and law-making.
This will ensure actual power is achieved over issues such as transport infrastructure, economic development and education.

If this is not on offer, we must reject the devolution deal currently on the table for the Sheffield and Leeds City Regions and press national and local politicians to push for a better deal: stronger, more
ambitious, more democratic and based on proper consultation.