Tracy Brabin MP has said the announcement of a West Yorkshire devolution deal in today’s Budget is a victory for the North.
After more than five years of campaigning by West Yorkshire MPs, Council leaders, business leaders and citizens, the county will now get a metropolitan mayor and control over how money is spent in areas such as housing, transport, culture and regeneration.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed the devolution deal in today’s Budget, including a funding settlement for transport similar to the existing deal in place for London. The deal will give West Yorkshire direct control of £1.8 billion of public money.
Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Spen and Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has been working hard with other West Yorkshire figures to get this deal in place for the county.
The deal includes putting £38 million per year for the next 30 years into the West Yorkshire Investment Fund to be spent on local priorities, £317m to spend on public transport, cycling and walking routes and improvements, and £3.2m for new housing across the county.
West Yorkshire will also receive £25m to create a British Library North in the county, which Ms Brabin believes will transform the cultural offering to the people of Batley and Spen and the wider county.
Also included is a Government commitment to work with West Yorkshire to develop a modern mass transport system and control of the Adult Education Budget, worth £63m a year.
Tracy Brabin MP said: “This deal has been a long time coming. Its inclusion in the Budget is testament to the hard work everyone in West Yorkshire has put in since 2015 to make this vision a reality.
“These ministers from the South have no idea what life is like for people living in West Yorkshire and the issues we face, which is why it was so important we got devolution, so money could be spent where we know it’s needed most.
“We can now sort out our bus services, build much needed houses and address the problems unique to our county, and finally get our mass transit system moving so people can get around more easily.
“The £25m announcement for the British Library North is huge for our county. We’ve all seen the challenges our libraries have faced in the past decade of cuts.
“As a long standing member of the British Library in London, when I made my living as a writer, I used it most days. With its extraordinary catalogue of books, exhibitions and services, I often felt everyone in the country should have a library like it.
“Now that is going to happen for Yorkshire with extra money for Boston Spa Library and ambitions for a British Library of the North in Leeds, I couldn’t be happier.”