After an 18 month enquiry, the Hull Commission has submitted its final report which concludes that a combined authority covering the Hull and East Riding council areas will be necessary if the Humber area is to meet its fullest economic potential.
The report states: “It will be disastrous for the area of Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire if they miss out on this excellent opportunity because of historical problems of local animosity.”
Following the Commission’s report, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has written to the leaders of both councils calling on them to urgently begin the process of unification to secure the economic future of the Humber region.
Chairman of the FSB’s East Yorkshire Branch, Mike Bisby, said: “The FSB has long been an advocate of economic unification of the north. In 2014 we published a report calling for the formation of a single ‘Northern Gateway Super-region’ stretching from the Mersey to the Humber and we contend that until this happens, no concept of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ can possibly exist.
“We perceive that a Hull and East Riding combined authority will be the first phase in the formation of a Yorkshire Authority and ultimately a Northern Gateway Super-region.”
In September 2015 an analysis by Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (Speri) revealed that London is set to receive more public funding than all the other English regions combined. Infrastructure investment in London is about to reach £5,305 per head of population, compared to £851 per head in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Mr Bisby added: “The awarding of City Deals as per the Manchester and Sheffield models is a mere sop to give the illusion of devolution whilst ensuring the levers of power remain firmly in Whitehall.
“It is clear from the Speri findings that until the north initiates its own devolutionary process, no authority will possess the ‘clout’ to counterbalance the economic power of the south-east and the economy of the north will never have the transformational impact to become a world renowned hub of economic activity.”