In this section:
Who we are:
We are an independent pressure group set up in 2012 to campaign for devolution and a directly elected parliament for Yorkshire.
As an organisation we have no party political affiliations but are open to working with those who share our aims. We seek to redress the over-centralisation of power in the hands of Whitehall and Westminster which has taken place over many years and to enhance democratic accountability by bringing key decision-making powers to our County. We seek to provide the people of Yorkshire with the means to achieve their true potential. We are committed to standing up for Yorkshire’s prosperity and strive to ensure that the County and its people receive fair treatment and opportunities.
We are a self-financing organisation relying on membership subscriptions and donations. We do not have any large backers and, therefore, we are not influenced by vested interests. All our staff work on a voluntary basis and receive no remuneration. Volunteers also staff our administration and support functions.
The current Management Team comprises:
How we got here:
Inspired by former Home Secretary, David Blunkett, who in October 2010 challenged Prime Minister, David Cameron, to give one valid reason why Yorkshire should not have her own ‘White Rose Parliament’ (he failed), Yorkshireman, Nigel Sollitt, began campaigning to achieve exactly that. In doing so, he came across many others who shared his vision. In April 2012 they formed a social media group which Nigel named ‘Yorkshire Devolution Movement’ and at a meeting he arranged in York, an Executive Committee was founded on 2nd March 2013 comprising Nigel as Chair, Gareth Shanks as Secretary and Stewart Arnold as Vice-Chair.
At a further meeting, in September 2013, the Executive Committee was joined by Richard Honnoraty as Treasurer & Richard Carter as an advisor and it was decided to register the Movement as an incorporated body.
Richard Carter, Stewart Arnold and Richard Honnoraty founded the Yorkshire Party (Yorkshire First) in 2014 and along with Gareth Shanks, left YDM over the next three years, but not before we were joined by Martin Clayton and his son, Keith Clayton, who, ironically, came to us from the Yorkshire Party. After the departures of Messrs Carter, Arnold & Honnoraty, Martin doubled as Vice Chair and Secretary and Nigel doubled as Chair and Treasurer. With both Martin and Keith being IT experts, we set about completely overhauling our IT platforms and were at that point joined by Paul Clayton, also Martin’s son, our current IT advisor.
Unfortunately, Martin was found to have a medical complication in 2020 which gradually deteriorated his health to a point where he had to resign as a Director in 2021. Despite this, he carried on in an advisory capacity until he passed away, peacefully in his sleep, in November 2023.
What we want:
The aims of the Yorkshire Devolution Movement are:
- One voice for Yorkshire!
- The boundary of the Traditional County of Yorkshire to be reinstated as an administrative boundary with no Local Government Area transgressing it.
- Yorkshire to be represented as an integral devolved entity at UK regional level.
- The devolved entity of Yorkshire to be represented by a Yorkshire Parliament, directly elected by the Yorkshire people on the basis of Single Transferable Vote (STV).
- Yorkshire to enjoy overall powers at least equal to those of any other devolved entity within the UK and increasing to full devolution upon completion of the transition period.
- The benefit of devolved powers to be enjoyed at local levels within Yorkshire through appropriate subsidiarity to allow decisions to be made at the least centralised level capable of addressing the issue.
- To create a successful and sustainable economy for Yorkshire which will provide lasting prosperity for the Yorkshire people.
Matters to be devolved to Yorkshire:
Compared to any one part of the UK that already has devolution, powers over many of the following matters would need to be devolved to Yorkshire to correct the democratic imbalance Yorkshire has with it. Only when all the following matters have been devolved to Yorkshire will Yorkshire have full devolution:
- Agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development
- Ancient monuments, historic buildings and natural heritage
- Economic development and financial assistance to industry
- Education and training
- Fire and rescue services and promotion of fire safety
- Health and health services
- Highways and transport
- County Law and home affairs
- Local government
- Public administration
- Supplementary revenue raising (to supplement regional funding distributed by UK Treasury)
- Social welfare
- Sport, recreation and the arts
- Statistics, public registers and records
- Strategic planning
- Town and country planning
- Water and flood defence
- Yorkshire heritage, culture & dialect
Yorkshire needs a successful, sustainable economy to assure prosperity now and in the future. The ultimate aim is to ensure that the region is self-financing and can afford to pay for all the services it needs but due to a lack of investment this aim is some way from being achieved.
The Yorkshire Devolution Movement believes that we need to find the resources necessary to invest in world-class infrastructure for the region. We need excellent transport links and communications facilities to support the region’s businesses and also to attract new enterprises to the region. Along with these, we need energy security, which should come at a reasonable price, affordable housing close to workplaces, excellent healthcare and education facilities, reliable and reasonably priced utilities, and excellent retail and entertainment facilities. All of these things are necessary to make Yorkshire a desirable place to do business and a desirable place in which to live and work.
We would like to see Yorkshire as the “go-to” place to do business in the UK if not within Europe as a whole. To do this we will also need sound, consistent and coherent business policies that support enterprises. We are not suggesting subsidising business but we believe that no business within the region should be disadvantaged by national or regional policies, subject to these being in accordance with appropriate health and safety regulations, relevant international standards and laid down standards of remuneration.
We need to create a business environment that will support enterprises now and in the future. Over time some industries will decline but we must try to ensure that these changes are anticipated so that steps can be taken to minimize any adverse effects. We should aim to create a balanced economy but this will not be easy especially in areas dominated by one industry that may be subject to adverse market forces. A further challenge comes in the form of technological unemployment which could overwhelm the economy of the country as a whole unless we anticipate it and take action to address the issues before they become problems. We must also ensure that economic activity is sustainable and does not damage the environment because unsustainable economic activity could potentially cause lasting environmental damage which could result in future health issues, deprivation and poverty.
The YDM believes that a regional administration would be best placed to support business and take a proactive economic role whilst ensuring that the environment is safeguarded and sustainable, equitable prosperity is achieved.
What We Do:
The primary focus of the Yorkshire Devolution Movement is to campaign for a Yorkshire administration that is overseen by a Yorkshire parliament directly elected by the Yorkshire people and which is responsible for those services which would be best provided at ‘All-Yorkshire’ level. This administration would acquire its powers from various sources:- Whitehall, quangos, other existing public bodies and local authorities.
As a campaigning organisation most of our work involves putting our case before politicians and other stakeholders but primarily to ordinary people who are the primary stakeholders and make up most of our target audience. Our work involves presenting our case to the media; writing to MPs, Ministers and local Councillors; putting articles on our websites and running our social media platforms. In addition to this, we carry out a great deal of research and analysis to ensure that our arguments are backed up by factual data.
You can read about the campaigns & activities we have undertaken by scrolling through our News and Blog section.