PEOPLE are being urged to have their say on a new devolution deal for the region.

Public consultation is now under way into the £1.8 billion deal, which the Government announced in March.

Under the initiative, a raft of decision-making would be moved from Westminster, a West Yorkshire mayor would be created and local politicians would have access to large funding pots for transport, infrastructure and skills schemes.

There was cross-party delight from politicians when an announcement was made on the long-campaigned-for deal, but the public response was more muted.

And when members of West Yorkshire Combined Authority debated the issue, they acknowledged that many residents still needed to be convinced over devolution and were turned-off by the subject.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, chairman of the combined authority and leader of Bradford Council, said: “The word devolution is quite off-putting. People will glaze over when you mention it. It does sound quite technical, and the challenge is to make it sound more interesting.

“I tell people it is about powers and money that allow us to do more things locally that people want.

“We need to make it so every person in the region sees the benefit of devolution.”

Councillor Stewart Golton said it was important that people understood the facts of the deal.

“This deal is clear and accessible for people who get to know about it – but the key is getting them to know about it,” he added.

“It is important we enable people to see the facts of what is being proposed.

“When we say the word ‘deal’, some people read that as ‘stitch up’.

“We need to make sure people don’t see this as an agreement between a set of suits in London and a set of suits in the town halls of West Yorkshire – but is actually something meaningful for the people of our sub-region.”

And Roger Marsh, head of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “People need to get a sense of what’s on offer, not what the minutiae of the deal is – that can be a turn off.”

For more details and to take part in the consultation, which runs until July 19, visit