In the Brexit mire, case for devolution in Yorkshire must not be forgotten
The deliberations over Brexit continue with MPs today (Thurs 14 Feb) due to debate the latest developments in the House of Commons. Let’s hope that St Valentine is at work throughout all of Westminster, and not just the Abbey.
Just last week the IoD in Yorkshire held a ‘Beyond Brexit’ lunch, hosted by Dine at the Mansion in Roundhay Park, Leeds. When we planned this event six months ago, I never imagined that Brexit, quite frankly, would be beyond us.
The lunch was a sell out and over the course of a couple of hours there was plenty of healthy deliberating over Brexit. Allie Renison, Head of Europe and Trade Policy at the IoD and a respected commentator on Brexit, addressed members and guests, tackling the issue of how businesses plan for Brexit including a no deal scenario.
The Mansion lunch was the first in a series of events in Yorkshire involving the IoD’s senior leadership team, providing our regional membership with valuable opportunities to share its views not only on Brexit, but business more generally, the economy, education and skills, transport and infrastructure.
Next week we welcome Edwin Morgan, the IoD’s acting Director General for External Affairs. Edwin will be in York on 22 February to discuss among other things the momentum behind the One Yorkshire devolution proposal. And next month on March 5, Charlotte Valeur, the chair of the IoD, will give this year’s annual lecture at Leeds Beckett University Business School. We have just a few tickets from 5.30pm-7pm – they are complimentary.
Returning to Brexit, and while companies and organisations across the region wait for an outcome on the negotiations, they are also heavily involved in the growing deliberations around devolution for Yorkshire.
It is reassuring to see business playing its part in the devolution debate while central government appears only to have the bandwidth for Brexit.
Jon Geldart, chair of IoD Yorkshire and One Yorkshire committee member, says: “The importance of devolution for Yorkshire cannot be underestimated as a catalyst for economic prosperity.
“The increased cooperation between local government, unions, universities and businesses across the region is a most welcome development. This ‘coalition of the willing’, working to the same priorities and goals in a coordinated manner, is a critical step along the journey towards placing both funding and accountability where it can be the most effective – close to the communities and citizens it most directly impacts.”
Moving away from business matters, it is important to take time out to reflect, best done while enjoying the breath-taking landscape and scenery we have in Yorkshire. Roundhay Park – with The Mansion as its jewel – was resplendent in the winter sunshine last week.
Steeped in history, the Grade II listed Mansion has been beautifully restored in a partnership between hospitality and event management specialist Dine and Leeds City Council. I’m delighted that Dan Gill – the MD of Dine – is one of this year’s judges for our Director of the Year Awards Yorkshire and the North East.
Entries for the awards are open to IoD members and non-members or you can nominate someone who you believe represents the best in Yorkshire leadership. The deadline for entries is 12 April.
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Natalie Sykes, regional director, Institute of Directors