CBI Director General’s devolution message to the region

The CBI Director General has told how business is starting to lose patience on the slow pace of devolution.

Speaking at the Yorkshire and Humber dinner at Leeds University, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn looked beyond the dynamic Brexit situation.

She said: “So, looking to the future – and past Brexit if we can – what do we need to do to ensure Yorkshire & the Humber remains a hub of imagination, innovation, ingenuity?

“Something that is often talked about, but rarely acted on: devolution. We know that decisions are best taken by those most impacted by them.

“Yet the UK remains one of the most power-centralised countries in Europe. Decisions that, in other countries, are taken at a local level have in this country become the routine preserve of Westminster.

“And frankly, with government distracted by Brexit, we can now see the disadvantages of over-centralisation more clearly than ever.

CBI Director-General Dame Carolyn Fairbairn.
(Image: PA)

“Yet despite this indisputable truth, progress towards devolution remains frustratingly slow.

“As a first step – we are calling for the government to publish a devolution framework.

“Because time and again, the government has rejected locally-led plans for devolution but has failed to publish its own alternative proposals.

 

“We’ve seen ‘One Yorkshire’ ideas – put forward in good faith – rejected with little explanation. Now businesses are starting to lose patience.

“We cannot let tribal politics, and fears of partisanship stop devolution in its tracks.

“And at a local level – leaders across Yorkshire and the Humber must also resist entrenchment, standing arms folded.

 

“As city deals – sitting unsigned – risk investment drying up, holding back the region.

“So our message from business, to politicians at all levels: We need to see action.

“Let’s not add ‘devolution fatigue’ to existing Brexit fatigue with progress kicked into the long grass.”

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