Sheffield is first devo bid to get green light from Whitehall

2 Oct 15

The Sheffield city region has become the first of the places that submitted a devolution proposal last month to reach agreement with Whitehall.

It will receive powers including a £30m annual funding pot to invest in local manufacturing and innovation.

The pact, reached with the Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government, will lead to the creation of a directly elected mayor for the city region.

Under the deal, which covers nine South Yorkshire and Derbyshire councils, the mayor will oversee a range of devolved powers including transport budgets, franchised bus services and strategic planning.

The Sheffield city region has become the first of the places that submitted a devolution proposal last month to reach agreement with Whitehall. It will receive powers including a £30m annual funding pot to invest in local manufacturing and innovation.

Photo: Alamy

 

The mayor will also be given responsibility over an identified “key route network” of local authority roads that will be collaboratively managed.

In addition, the new post will work with the region’s combined authority to distribute the £30m “gain share” fund, which will be in place for 30 years.

Further funding flexibilities will be provided to the authority in the forthcoming Spending Review and is intended to give the city region power to boost local growth and invest in local manufacturing and innovation.

The combined authority will also be responsible for leading an area-based review of skills provision for people aged over 16, while funding for those aged 19 and over will be devolved from 2018/19.

Chancellor George Osborne said the deal represented a significant development in the government’s Northern Powerhouse plans.

“It has the power to change the shape of local government in the region in a way that would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago,” he stated.

“For local people, it will mean the decisions that affect them being taken locally.”

It showed the devolution programme already underway with Greater Manchester, also in return for the creation of a directly elected mayor, was not a one off, Osborne claimed.

“In becoming the second great northern city to sign up to managing its own affairs with this ambitious agreement, Sheffield City Region is playing a vital part in helping to build the Northern Powerhouse.”

Sir Stephen Houghton, leader of Barnsley and the chair of the combined authority, said the agreement would enable local leaders to make better decisions over skills, business growth and infrastructure.

“Over the coming months we will be speaking to local residents, businesses and partners about what this means for economic growth in their city region.”

Sheffield was one of 38 places to submit proposals for devolution of powers by the government’s 4 September deadline.

Centre for Cities chief executive Alexandra Jones said the Sheffield deal would increase the pressure on other big cities, which risk falling further behind if they fail to confirm agreements before the Spending Review.

“This deal is a great step forward for Sheffield, and will give local leaders more of the powers they need to improve transport infrastructure, boost skills and support more businesses and jobs, which will make a big difference to the lives of people all across the city region,” she added.

The full list of councils in the Sheffield city region is: Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Doncaster, North East Derbyshire, Rotherham and Sheffield.

 

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