COUNCILS are taking the first steps towards a potential devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire - and local residents are being encouraged to have their say on what a deal could look like.

City of York Council is working together with North Yorkshire County Council and the district and borough councils of Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Scarborough, Selby, Richmondshire and Ryedale to begin the process of agreeing a devolution proposal for the area.

Devolution, which is typically focused on boosting local economic growth, could see powers and funding transferred from Westminster, to York and North Yorkshire

A devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire could potentially unlock significant investment in the region, including investment in York’s transport infrastructure, like Haxby station, investment in low-carbon technologies, more affordable housing, funding to boost tourism and investment in major schemes, like York Central.

Given the potential scale of funding that a devolution deal could unlock for York, local residents and businesses are being invited to find out more at, and share their thoughts via Our Big Conversation at

There will also be a Facebook live ‘Ask the Leaders’ event on Thursday from 5 to 6pm, where a panel will answer questions about York’s ‘Big Conversation’ consultation, and what devolution might mean for York’s future.

There are many steps that need to be taken before a deal is agreed. The first major step provides York the opportunity to present a series of ‘asks’ to Government, which would outline what the city would like to see if a devolution deal is agreed. 

Cllr Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said: “The possible scale of investment with devolution is significant, and therefore, it is incredibly important that local residents and organisations have the opportunity to have their say on this important first step, particularly on the outcomes we want to achieve. This feedback will help to guide our conversations on getting the right deal from the Government.

“This is a first step, with further consultation to come. To continue to progress, any deal has to be right for our area and be of direct benefit to residents, communities and businesses. I would strongly encourage everyone to visit to find out more and have their say on what a deal could look like. I look forward to answering residents questions on the #AsktheLeaders Facebook live in the weeks to come, as we discuss the Council’s Big Conversation.”

Since 2018, as a region, York and North Yorkshire has been discussing devolution when leaders across Yorkshire committed to developing a joined-up deal for “one Yorkshire”. However, the UK Government responded to this, making clear they would first prefer smaller devolved deals.

Since then, devolution deals have been agreed for South Yorkshire and, in March this year, a deal was agreed for West Yorkshire.

The York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), speaking on behalf of the council, said a York and North Yorkshire deal is the only option currently on the table for our sub-region.

Given the need for our sub-region to work together in response, councils have agreed to explore with Government what opportunities the potential for devolution could bring, helping York and Yorkshire recover strongly. The timetable is still to be set for York and North Yorkshire to make decisions about its own devolution, aiming to take place between 2020 and 2022.

Papers going to local councillors for consideration, suggest that a devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire could potentially unlock significant investment over 30 years.

A spokesperson for the York and North Yorkshire LEP said: "Devolution would also mean that the region has greater powers and resources to harness the potential of the region which would help to deliver its ambition of becoming England’s first carbon negative economy.

"Furthermore, it would enable greater local investment in transport, housing, town centre regeneration and development, digital connectivity, skills and employability."

They added: "Local investment is hugely important in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, as despite having a diverse and robust economy the York and North Yorkshire region has been hard hit.

"With 98.5 per cent of the region’s businesses made up of micro and small businesses, many which rely primarily on the visitor economy the, scale of economic impact across the region is unprecedented.

"Devolution would mean the region has greater control of investment into the region which could stimulate business growth and accelerate recovery from Covid-19. It will help provide the certainty required to invest in businesses and stimulate growth, accelerating recovery post covid-19."

City of York Council’s Executive will discuss a proposal regarding York’s ‘asks’ of Government at a meeting of the Executive on July 23, in order to agree the ‘asks’ before they are sent to the Government for consideration, as has been published on the Council’s Forward Plan.

If conversations between the councils and Government progress well, a governance review will be required to take place, including a full consultation, which will provide residents and businesses a full opportunity to comment before decisions are made at Executive and then, Full Council.