NEARLY 20 city leaders have written a letter to the Prime Minister - dubbed a “momentous demonstration” - calling for a new Government hub to be based in York.

The letter, sent to 10 Downing Street, has been signed by key business leaders and organisations from across the city, including Greg Dyke, chair of Make It York, Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, Dame Mary Archer, chair of York Central Partnership and both of York’s MPs, Rachael Maskell and Julian Sturdy.

It says York is ideally placed to become the “second city of government” - a move which would be “transformative” for the city.

Last month Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested the Houses of Parliament could move to York while the Palace of Westminster undergoes renovation.

Mr Johnson said the government was considering establishing a hub in the northern city and “it would, therefore, make sense to consider this as a potential location”.

Now the joint letter is calling on the government to discuss the proposal in greater detail.

It says: “We would like to express our strong support for any such move, which we believe would have overwhelming public support especially in York and the surrounding region, would play a major role in delivering the government’s national levelling-up agenda, and would be a very significant economic boost for the city and the north.

“We also believe York has the ideal available site, in York Central. Its strategic importance has been recognised with the award of Enterprise Zone status.

“The economic impact of the York Central development was originally estimated at £1.16 billion. We believe it will be very significantly higher than that now.

“As well as the direct economic impact of any significant move of central government facilities, such a move would be transformational both economically and in terms of public perception.

“The unlocking of the York Central site would allow sufficient space, alongside government offices, for York’s burgeoning creative tech and biotech sectors to expand.”

The letter adds that the green credentials of many of the businesses involved would further the government’s carbon reduction priorities and the region’s aspirations to become the UK’s first “carbon-negative location”.

It adds: “Finally, beyond all the historically compelling reasons for York to retake its place as the second city of government, the move to the city and the associated unlocking of the York Central site has huge public and business support across the region, for which we are all committed to helping support with a positive campaign. After 50 years of development deadlock, this is the opportunity for the current government to be heralded for making it finally happen.”

A government spokesman said: "We are looking at options to ensure all parts of the UK feel connected to politics. As part of this, we are considering establishing a government hub in York.”