This page summarises the structure and priorities of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, devolution in West Yorkshire and the work of local housing associations in the city region.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) was constituted on 1 April 2014. The membership of the combined authority is comprised of democratically elected councillors from Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, plus York and the chair of the local enterprise partnership (LEP). It works in partnership with the Leeds City Region (LCR) LEP, which covers a larger geography of ten West Yorkshire local authorities:
The LEP board brings together business and council leaders to deliver the city region’s growth and investment ambitions.
The combined authority and LEP have strategic authority with powers over transport, economic development and regeneration. The Leeds City Deal (2012) secured new powers for a new WYCA over transport, establishing a £1bn West Yorkshire ‘plus’ Transport Fund.
The WYCA’s work is led by the combined authority members and the board of the Leeds City Region LEP. Together, they seek to:
- deliver a strong economy, helping businesses to become more productive and create more, better quality jobs for local people
- promote inclusive growth, ensuring everyone in the Leeds City Region can benefit from economic growth and opportunity
- deliver modern, efficient transport infrastructure that supports communities, the environment and the economy
- secure devolution funding and powers to support local decision-making priorities.
Devolution in West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region
In March 2015, the WYCA agreed a devolution deal with the Government, which secured ‘greater influence’ for the combined authority on investment decisions on skills, transport, housing and support for small businesses. The deal was described as ‘disappointing’ by the then chair of the WYCA, Councillor Peter Box, who called for ‘real fiscal devolution’ to the city region. Commentators attributed the watered down deal to the city region’s unwillingness to adopt the direct elected city region mayor.
In January 2017, the leaders of the local authorities comprising the WYCA issued a statement outlining their support to enter a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal. By August 2017, seventeen of the twenty Yorkshire councils had backed the ‘One Yorkshire’ bid. This process led to Barnsley and Doncaster withdrawing from the Sheffield City Region deal throwing the future of the Sheffield City Region devolution deal into question.
The ‘One Yorkshire’ deal, backed by eighteen local authorities was rejected by the government for not meeting the devolution criteria. The bid called on the government to create a Yorkshire Combined Authority, and devolve responsibility and funding for matters like transport budgets, bus services and adult skill funding.
Housing in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority
The March 2017 WYCA devolution deal committed Home England and WYCA to a different working relationship, to ensure the combined authority a greater say over long-term housing strategy, planning and funding in the city region.
The WYCA has a Land and Assets Panel, chaired by Leader of Calderdale Council Councillor Tim Swift. The panel is an advisory committee, which advises the WYCA and LEP on matters relating to strategic land and asset management, housing growth, regeneration and place-making, and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone. Its responsibilities include identifying and promoting opportunities for obtaining devolved funding.
West Yorkshire Joint venture
Housing associations are in detailed discussions about forming a joint venture to accelerate housing delivery in the city region. The aim is to bid for bigger sites and reinvest any profit back into social housing.
Housing associations and their work in West Yorkshire
Housing associations own 110,000 homes in West Yorkshire, housing 245,000 people. Between 2015 and 2017, housing associations in the combined authority started 1,578 new homes and completed a further 1,561 new homes. The day-to-day management of housing association homes in the area adds £177.7m to the local economy annually, supporting almost 5,000 full-time jobs. This combined authority has an ambition to increase housing delivery across Leeds City region up to 10,000 homes per year by 2021.
Housing associations in West Yorkshire, supported by the National Housing Federation, are committed to working with the combined authority to end the housing crisis in the city region. Together housing associations in the city region are collaborating to develop a WYCA housing association partnership, a joint venture and collaborative working on supported housing. These developments will help to shape a future housing deal.
To discuss devolution and housing in West Yorkshire City Region, please email Jo Allen, External Affairs Manager for the Yorkshire and Humber region.
This page was last updated December 2018.