BUSINESS leaders will be able to question how a proposed York and North Yorkshire devolution deal will benefit them this week.

A webinar is being held on Thursday, to shed light on the bid for a new single council as local government in York and North Yorkshire is reorganised.

Ministers have offered to devolve funds and powers in a bid to level up the economy, providing local authorities scrap the two-tier structure and move to a streamlined unitary system.

North Yorkshire County Council's chief executive, Richard Flinton, and Matt O’Neill, assistant director growth, planning and trading standards, will be providing further details at the free webinar from 1pm to 2pm (book on eventbrite).

The county council is inviting business leaders to lend their support by writing to the minister for regional growth and local government, Simon Clarke, at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

York and North Yorkshire councils are working on a devolution deal to accelerate the recovery from the pandemic and create new growth opportunities for businesses.

They say it has the potential to deliver up to £2.4bn worth of investment in infrastructure and new growth opportunities.

They have approved plans to invest £540m in fibre connectivity, £390m in transport links, £290m in market town centres, £215m in the bio-economy, £95m on housing, £50m on green energy and £10m in skills across the county over the coming years.

The proposals will also save more than £25m a year in bureaucracy costs by replacing the current two-tier structure of local government - which has seven district councils and a county council - with a single, mayor-led stronger authority with enhanced local accountability.

The vision aims to create the UK’s first carbon negative region in which people reach their full potential, earn higher wages and lead healthier lives.

While preserving the integrity of the City of York, the new unitary authority would focus on delivering projects to upgrade communications and transport infrastructure.

It would have full responsibility for planning, economic development, highways, housing, trading standards and other essential services – joining up the support businesses need, and supported by local level delivery.

Other areas to adopt a similar approach have succeeded in securing billions of pounds of invest-ment from central government including neighbouring Tees Valley and West Yorkshire.

Richard Flinton said: “North Yorkshire has a vibrant and diverse business community with international strengths in the bio-economy, technology, manufacturing and tourism sectors.

“This devolution deal will back companies of all sizes with new investment of up to £2.4bn in the infrastructure they need to grow and prosper, but the time is now – devolution must not be delayed.

"The cost of any delay could be extremely significant."

“Our proposals simplify and strengthen local government, save unnecessary spending, bring stability and give us the size and scale to succeed. We urge businesses to back our bid, which we believe will offer you the best prospects of lasting economic recovery and growth."