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Local elections 2024: Mayor of York and North Yorkshire

How was first mayor of York and North Yorkshire elected? What new powers does the new mayor hold?

Ribbleshead viaduct in North Yorkshire
On 2 May 2024 voters across York and North Yorkshire elected David Skaith as the first ever mayor of the region.

On 2 May 2024, David Skaith was elected as the first mayor of York and North Yorkshire winning a total of 35% of the vote. 47 David Skaith, Tweet, 13 December 2024,  Skaith leads the new York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, controlling a £18m per year investment fund and dedicated budgets for functions including transport, skills, housing and policing. 

What was the result of the 2024 York and North Yorkshire mayoral election?

David Skaith was the winner of the May 2024 York and North Yorkshire mayoral election. He represents the Labour Party and is a York businessman.

 Skaith’s highest share of the vote was 54% in York, and his lowest was 29% in North Yorkshire. 

The turnout across the Combined Authority was 30%. 48 North Yorkshire Council, ‘York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority mayoral election’, North Yorkshire Council, (no date), retrieved 3 May 2023,  Turnout for metro mayor elections has varied between 21% (Tees Valley 2017) and 36% (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 2021).

The Conservative candidate was Keane Duncan, a councillor and executive member for highways and transportation on North Yorkshire Council. 49 Connell D, ‘Keane Duncan Conservative candidate for Mayor of York’ The York Press, 15 July 2023, retrieved 12 October 2023,  

Other candidates included the Green Party’s Kevin Foster 50 Barrett T, ‘Green Party pick ex-soldier for North Yorkshire mayoral vote’, Darlington and Stockton Times, 1 November 2023, retrieved 8 November 2023,  and the Liberal Democrats’ Felicity Cunliffe-Lister 51 Booth H, ‘Lib Dems back Felicity Cunliffe-Lister for new mayor role’, Darlington and Stockton Times, 5 February 2024, retrieved 4 March 2024, , both of whom are North Yorkshire councillors. Keith Tordoff stood as an independent, having initially been selected to represent the Yorkshire Party. 52 Harrogate Informer, ‘Keith Tordoff: from Yorkshire Party to Independent for Mayoral campaign’ Harrogate Informer, 12 June 2023, retrieved 12 October 2023,  Counsellor Paul Haslam also stood as an independent candidate. 53 Harrogate Informer, ‘Paul Haslm announced he will be running for Mayor of York and North Yorkshire’, Harrogate Informer, 18 March 2024, retrieved 3 April 2024,

What is the history of devolution to York and North Yorkshire?

Under the last Labour government, proposals to create a regional assembly for the larger Yorkshire and the Humber region were abandoned after a referendum in the neighbouring North East region heavily rejected a similar proposed assembly. 54 Mulholland H, ‘North-east voters reject regional assembly’ The Guardian, 5 November 2004, retrieved 12 October 2023,  

A proposed Leeds City Region devolution deal that would have covered York and parts of North Yorkshire was rejected by government in 2016, in the face of opposition from some local MPs and local leaders. 55 Pidd H, ‘Sheffield mayoral vote delay prompts calls for Yorkshire-wide deal’ The Guardian, 12 January 2017, retrieved 9 November 2023,

A ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution proposal was also put forward in 2017, which would have included North Yorkshire as part of a pan-Yorkshire deal. This vision was supported by 18 of the 20 Yorkshire councils that existed at the time, 56 City of York Council, ‘One Yorkshire Devolution’ City of York Council (no date) retrieved 12 October 2023, but it was rejected by ministers on the grounds that this large region did not form a coherent economic area. 57 House of Lords, Hansard, ‘Yorkshire Devolution’ HL Deb 12 February 2019, vol 795, cols 1738-39.  The government instead struck separate mayoral devolution deals with South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire

The York and North Yorkshire devolution deal was signed by ministers and local leaders on 1 August 2022, with the first mayoral election on 2 May 2024. 58 Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, ‘York and North Yorkshire devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, 1 August 2022, retrieved 12 October 2023,  On 1 April 2023 a new unitary council was formed for North Yorkshire, replacing the county council and seven former district and borough councils (Craven, Harrogate, Hambleton, Scarborough, Richmondshire, Ryedale and Selby). This reorganisation simplified the process of agreeing and implementing a devolution deal. 59 North Yorkshire Council, ‘Devolution’ North Yorkshire Council (no date), retrieved 12 October 2023,

What is the York and North Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority?

The York and North Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (YNYCA) is a legal body established by parliament bringing together the local authorities of City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council.

The combined authority consists of five voting members: the elected mayor and two representatives of each constituent council, as well as a non-voting business representative. 60 Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, ‘York and North Yorkshire devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, 1 August 2022, retrieved 12 October 2023,

North Yorkshire Council is controlled by the Conservatives, while City of York Council has a Labour administration.

Local and mayoral elections 2024

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Voting count council workers counting papers

Both councils provisionally approved the creation of the YNYCA in February 2023. The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority Order 2023 to establish the YNYCA was laid in parliament on 7 November 2023, and became law on 19 December 2023. The combined authority launched on 1 February 2024.

What powers do the mayor and combined authority hold?

The mayor and combined authority hold powers over transport, skills, planning and regeneration, and policing and fire services.

YNYCA controls a long-term investment fund, with £18m per year of funding promised by the government over 30 years. It is responsible for the adult education budget, and has input into new local skills improvement plans.

Land assembly and compulsory purchase powers, the ability to designate mayoral development areas and establish mayoral development corporations, and the power to call in planning decisions are also devolved. Up to £2.65m will be given to YNYCA as a one-off investment towards delivering low-carbon homes, to pilot new energy efficiency or shared ownership schemes. 63 Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, ‘York and North Yorkshire devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, 1 August 2022, retrieved 12 October 2023,

YNYCA controls a devolved transport budget, and has bus franchising powers and power to draw up a local transport plan. It also has control of a Key Route Network of major roads. 

The mayor has police, fire and crime commissioner  powers, with a deputy mayor appointed to carry out the everyday functions of the role.

The devolution deal recognises York and North Yorkshire’s ambition to become England’s first carbon-negative region, and commits to provide a £7m investment towards this. The devolution deal also includes a role in culture and tourism. YNYCA will work in partnership with the Department for Culture Media and Sport’s arm’s-length bodies to develop the region’s cultural potential.   

The mayor has the power to impose a council tax precept, with the agreement of the authority as a whole. The power to charge a business rates supplement is also devolved.

How does York and North Yorkshire compare to the UK in terms of social and economic outcomes?

The YNYCA region as a whole lags the UK average in terms of labour productivity and income. It is above average in other economic indicators such as skills and employment rates, although at least one of the former district council areas falls below the UK average on both of these metrics. The region has a higher male healthy life expectancy (67 years) than the UK average (63 years).  

Most of the region falls below the national average for the share of workers commuting by public transport, 25% in comparison to 28%. Only York is above average on this measure at 36%. York is also the only local authority with a higher than UK average gigabit availability, which is as low as 8.4 in Scarborough.  

Both York and North Yorkshire have a lower proportion of private rented accommodation that meet the decent homes standard than England as a whole.  


How does YNYCA overlap with other administrative boundaries?

YNYCA covers the same geography as the York and North Yorkshire local enterprise partnership, which is being integrated into the combined authority.

The North Yorkshire police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are also coterminous with YNYCA, enabling the mayor to take on responsibility for these services.

The Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership includes and extends beyond YNYCA boundaries.

North Yorkshire and York are both constituent authorities in Transport for the North, a sub-national transport body. 64 Transport for the North, ‘Local Authorities’ Transport for the North, (no date) retrieved 12 October 2023,

York council is also a non-constituent member of neighbouring West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

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