Rural Issues

Rural Yorkshire covers our costal communities, our farmland, the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Dales and accessible areas close to major cities. it is diverse in terms of the age of the local population, the diversity of local economic activity and the provision of services and infrastructure.

We believe this should be clearly reflected in any decision making process, whether it concerns fracking, wind-farms, education, health, commerce, agriculture, fishing or any other important areas of rural life.

By voting for Yorkshire First you are voting to back our plan for fairness for rural Yorkshire:

  • We will support more grassroots participation in decision making, especially in areas like the rollout of broadband, transport infrastructure, housing, planning, health and support for businesses.
  • We will invest in alternative broadband solutions for communities not covered by the national roll-out.
  • We will commit to ensuring that a proportional of affordable housing is included in all major housing developments in rural Yorkshire.
  • We will support the National Farmers Union’s plan for a comprehensive agri-food strategy to increase the UK’s food production.

orkshire First represents people from both ‘stay’ and ‘leave’ sides of the EU Referendum debate.

We share a common belief in the importance of securing the best deal for Yorkshire, be that within or separate from the European Union.

The European Union represents an opportunity for nations and regions, such as Yorkshire, to have their voices heard at an international level.

However, the EU, founded on its original Treaties by agreement between old style centralised nation states, has become out of date and out of touch.  The governments of these centralized nation states have too often neglected the needs of the nations and regions they are elected to represent – such is the case for Yorkshire.

Current negotiations offer little with regard to the democratising reform which we seek. We believe that, regardless of the EU Referendum result, Europe must be democratised – local and regional first, national and European where appropriate and beneficial for all the people’s of Europe.

Yorkshire First will work with our European neighbours, in the European Free Alliance (EFA) to secure greater representation for our region and the best deal for its economy, environment and people.

Yorkshire First members will vote according to their conscience in the EU Referendum. In addition, we will encourage debate and discussion in the sure knowledge that democracy is about more decisions being made by people, not politicians – a belief that we can create a better future by trusting in the people.

Background information – Yorkshire Ridings Society

Our pledge for Yorkshire is adapted from the Yorkshire Ridings Society declaration.

The YRS declaration is read out every Yorkshire Day. We respect it and support it wholeheartedly.

However, we feel that the fight for Yorkshire to have more powers means the declaration must be built upon.

In 1977 the society’s founding committee published What future for Yorkshire? in reply to the Government’s white paper on devolution. It proposed as a “starting point”, among other things :

  • County-wide services to be provided by a “consortium” of district councils
  • A Yorkshire Provincial Assembly to cover the pre-1974 Yorkshire Ridings

It is time for Yorkshire to demand more from the UK government. A governing solution that works for Yorkshire.

Their current aims are;

  • Roadside boundary signs to mark the Ridings
  • A Yorkshire address for all parts of Yorkshire
  • Accurate representation of Yorkshire in all respects
  • Local government to more closely reflect Yorkshire’s true geography
  • Nick Gomersall

    Though born in Yorkshire of a Yorkshire family, I’ve been resident outside the UK for many years. I have lost my voting rights in parliamentary elections because of the “ten year rule” – but am I still eligible to vote in the European elections where, it seems, there will be Yorkshire First candidates? And, if I am eligible, in which constituency? As I say, I haven’t lived in Yorkshire for a very long time

    • YorkshireFirst Administrator


      Good question! You are a UK citizen which means you can register to vote based on your last address in the UK. That would then allow you to vote in the appropriate region. You would need to register as an overseas voter by contacting Electoral Commission. However, I think the cut off date is 6th May. Good luck! And thanks for showing an interest in Yorkshire First.

  • samantha dunnill

    hi my husband is born and bred yorkshire but im not i have lived here 8 years but consider myself a yorkshire resident i would never move back to where i lived before i think it is fantastic that you are giving yorkshire a voice and i will deffinatley be voting on 22nd may i love the pledge and agree with it wholeheartedly

    • YorkshireFirst Administrator

      You are loyal to the Ridings, so you are Yorkshire to me! Thanks and pls let as many know as possible that we are out there. Thanks!

  • Mick

    I’m a West Riding man, although from north of Sheffield as a kid always wondered why we couldn’t bend the rules a tad and call us the South Riding! The old folks still enthuse over the efficiency of the West Riding County Council whether it be libraries, bins, gritting or the little WRCC stamp on golf balls on the municipal course. The wife’s Dutch and we’ll be moving to Holland soon, England’s had it. Left or right matters not, it’s attitudes and at the moment nobody gives a damn about other people, the state of the roads, their own city, litter or the environment. The multi cultural nature of Yorkshire has almost always been at peace, unlike other areas of the country and for that I’m very happy. Maybe it’s the straight forwardness of the Yorkshire attitude that gives other cultures security in the knowledge that they know exactly where they stand and that there is no ambiguity or hidden agendas. I get immense pleasure showing my Dutch family around the county. They love Flamborough, the Pennines, Dales, Vales, monastic ruins, rivers, stone walls, hills especially the hills. They also like the villages. towns and cities which amazes me because Dutch cities are so much cleaner. We have everything we need to survive as an independent nation within a nation: water, land, industry, knowledge, wealth, energy and common sense. We could probably go a long way on tourism alone. Trouble is, Parky and Boycs might want to come back and to be honest….well that’s my opinion!!

    • YorkshireFirst Administrator

      Great comments! We have everything – except the powers to decide our own fate and priorities. We will win and you can do your bit from Holland. Enjoy, and remember wherever you go in the world you will always be Yorkshire first!

  • Peter

    Devolution for the region would be superb. The country is becoming more and more like a two horse race: London (the well fed stallion taken care of by selfish and greedy parties and politicians based in the South East) and the rest of the country (living of the scraps and treated as though we are second class citizens). With devolution and focus from government taken away from the capital issues such as housing and employment would be tackled a lot more effectively in Yorkshire. Attracting business and listening to the concerns and needs of citizens would allow for community politics on a large scale and a voice for all across the political spectrum.

    There is no surprise that Scotland has been interested in devolution and independence for a long time. The tax that is paid by all across the UK should be shared equally and not siphoned off for the South of England and their needs. The resources available to the country can cater for its needs. The same could be said for Yorkshire. Agreeing or not with the policies of the SNP, there is no doubting they have listened and catered for the needs of their population better than Westminster ever did (for example investing in Higher Education as desired by public opinion).

    Would this neo-community politics not benefit Yorkshire? The job of a politician is to reflect a community not to take care of Westminster.

    • YorkshireFirst Administrator

      Totally agree! If you want to get involved please email us. We need organisers in all our local authorities to apply the pressure…

    • Michael Potok

      I couldn’t agree more with your observations on London, or as I increasingly think of it “the London Problem”, because frankly as far as the rest of us are concerned that is what the sacred metropolis has become. I am thinking of London in the conventional sense, the great south-eastern blob that sucks the life out of the rest of the country, not the extended, abstract economic entity which, at least according to some geographers, includes Bristol as an outer suburb! There have been a lot offhand remarks in the air recently about London having for all practical purposes declared independence, while retaining “less important areas” like Yorkshire as an exploitable hinterland. Well, joking apart, I think they did actually declare independence in one way that really matter in the digital age when they acquired their own precious internet suffix. I watched a piece about this on one of London’s parochial, introverted TV channels, and oh my, weren’t they gloating about the fact that now no ignorant foreigners could possibly confuse them with the UK as a whole. I go to London infrequently, mostly for the great museums, but every time I do it feels more like visiting Switzerland. I imagine border posts are only a matter of time. Do I sound bitter ? I certainly hope so.

  • Frederick Smith

    I’m a firm believer that Yorkshire needs and should have it’s own governance. With local born politicians representing our thoughts and views. In my town, Doncaster, we had local lads as our constituency MP. I went to school with one, and knew the other, his predecessor. Now we have an MP who probably had to read crib sheets to tell him where he was going, when he first came here. Not good enough.

  • Gael Robinson

    I was born and bred in Yorkshire but had to move south for work. I’m desperate to move home! It breaks my heart to see vast swathes of our gorgeous county churned up for houses (on greenbelt land) or rail networks that have no benefit to your average Tyke at all!
    The Tour de France visit showed exactly what we can do. We need to be on the international map far more!
    As the largest county in the UK, Yorkshire should have more say in how it is run. The people know what they need.

  • James Campbell

    I’m a southerner but agree with your ideas. An England with vibrant regions – including political power – can only be a good thing for all of us. I wish you well.

    • YorkshireFirst Administrator

      Thanks James. We think so too… We hope that we may be able to offer help and advice to others in the many regions of England that want similar things. The only issue we foresee, is that there are not many parts of England that think of themselves as being of a region! Having an identity is important… and Yorkshire is fortunate in this respect. What concerns us is that we do not want Yorkshire to be railroaded into some other form of second rate devolution based on city regions, due to the lack of regional identities in other parts of the country. It is time for change. It’s time for Yorkshire.

  • Joseph Ballard

    I don’t think Yorkshire First goes far enough, I want and independent York, an independent Millfield Avenue and strongly believe that 6 Millfield Avenue should be it’s own nation state with the ability to make laws and implement policy. Only then, would Yorkshire First win my vote.

    • yorkshirefirst

      As a principle we are right behind you! Our institutions to deliver for us should only be there, and do things that can be better done at that level. Our country on the other hand is upside down.
      We think local and regional first, national and european where beneficial. In Switzerland 40% of taxes are retained at their equivalent of our Parish or Town Councils. A further 50% goes to the region for public services, and 10% to the national gov’t. Our system that you appear not to be prepared to vote against thinks we are here for their benefit, not the other way round. We have to wait until they decide we can have something… Anyway, please do vote in May. This will be the most influential voters can be in a general election for a long time…

    • Richard Lewis

      Yes…..self rule from the individual upwards in a connected world….I dont know if you are being sarcastic or not….but this is the potential future of an empowered species with advanced technology

      You could argue the UK as a top down construct is far too small…just like Milifield Avenue

      • yorkshirefirst

        Love the sarcasm – however, we believe exactly that! A rebalancing towards the citizen and communities. Ensuring power is always at the lowest feasible level. The ability to address local, and regional issues is the point of government. When it is not working correctly, you have to look again at that. We are at that point in the UK right now…

  • Hound

    If we could have sean bean as the new king of the north, I would be right behind you

  • Martin Mckay

    Unfortunately all of the national parties have succumbed to be part of the Westminster elite. To avoid this we need our politicians local and accountable. This country is in danger of fragmenting, not because of the regional parties but of the disconnect between the regions and London. Regional parties can be part of the solution in restoring trust in politicians and making the UK strong.

    • yorkshirefirst

      Spot on, and agree…but it needs people to decide enough is enough. That time is coming