THE leader of the council serving the largest area in England has spoken of his frustration over the length of time it is taking to settle a decision on devolution.

North Yorkshire County Council leader Councillor Carl Les said Whitehall’s focus on Brexit was impeding progress towards handing power to the region.

Four months has passed since 18 of the 20 councils in Yorkshire submitted their One Yorkshire bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for consideration.

It outlined plans for a £125m-a-year, 30-year-deal and an elected Yorkshire Mayor to be in power by 2020.

Speaking ahead of a meeting in York on Thursday of the 18 local authorities, he said he remained hopeful that a decision would be made this year.

Cllr Les said: “We feel we are losing out to areas that have already got mayors. The biggest issue is still what the devolved area is going to look like. When that’s decided we will have to move very quickly on what we want to see devolved.”

Cllr Les described a private meeting on Friday between council leaders from North Yorkshire and York and Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake at which the merits of the One Yorkshire and a York City Region proposals for devolution as a “good and open discussion”. He said: “One Yorkshire is fair. It has to be fair for everybody.”