Mayor of the Sheffield City Region

  1. New lockdown should have been earlier - City region mayor

    England's upcoming second national coronavirus lockdown should have happened weeks ago, according to Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis.

    Sheffield

    From Thursday, England will enter a second lockdown with pubs, restaurants, gyms, non-essential shops and places of worship closing, but schools, colleges and universities can stay open.

    But Mr Jarvis, Barnsley's Labour MP and city region mayor, says the country should instead have been placed into lockdown weeks ago.

    He said: "The government’s own scientific advisors gave clear advice on the need for a lockdown almost six weeks ago, and warned that not acting immediately to reduce cases would have catastrophic consequences.

    "If that was not enough, there was a brutally clear lesson from the first wave about the cost of delay both in lives and economic damage."

    Mr Jarvis added that the new restrictions were "necessary to sage lives" and people "must make them work".

    "We must not repeat the mistakes of the past eight months," he said.

  2. Government 'thanks' South Yorkshire councils over tier 3

    Talks about South Yorkshire being moved into tier three - very high alert - coronavirus restrictions were "constructive", the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has said.

    A coronavirus sign

    Robert Jenrick hinted on BBC Breakfast this morning that South Yorkshire was to be moved into tier three of the coronavirus alert system.

    This was confirmed at 09:00 from Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region.

    Mr Jenrick said with South Yorkshire moving from alert level "High" to "Very High" from Saturday, he wanted to thank Dan Jarvis and the leaders of local councils.

    He said: "Given rates are among the highest in the country I am pleased we were able to reach an agreement that ensures swift action is taken in accordance with the public health advice.

    "I fully recognise the huge impact this will have on communities in the area and the sacrifices people will be making. That’s why we have agreed an extensive package of support for local people, businesses and councils."

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    He added: "The restrictions agreed together will only be in place for as long as they are absolutely necessary. They will be reviewed jointly in 28 days' time.

    "The government will be working with local leaders as we tackle this challenge, for the benefit of all the people of South Yorkshire."

  3. Local lockdown 'lifeline' as South Yorkshire moved tiers

    The agreement to move South Yorkshire into the highest coronavirus alert level - tier three - will come with a "local lockdown lifeline", the mayor of the Sheffield City Region has said.

    Dan Jarvis

    From Saturday, people living in South Yorkshire will be placed in tier three.

    This means pubs and bars will have to close unless they are serving substantial meals.

    Households cannot meet both indoors and outdoors, with people being advised against travelling in or out of the area.

    Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said as part of the agreement with government to move into tier three was that they'd get an economic "local lockdown lifeline" for local councils.

    He said: "The new restrictions will be introduced alongside resources which mean we are better equipped to control the virus and limit some of the damage on jobs and businesses.

    “While infection rates vary across South Yorkshire, collective action was the only practical choice to keep everyone in our region safe.

    "If restrictions are effective, individual local authorities will be able to move to lower alert levels as soon as it is safe to do so, in consultation with fellow local leaders, myself and national government.

    “However, to reach that point as quickly as possible, it’s critical people in South Yorkshire follow the new restrictions as soon as they are in place."

  4. Restrictions to come into force on Saturday - Mayor

    South Yorkshire has been moved into the highest tier of the coronavirus alert level - tier three - with restrictions coming into force on Saturday, the region's mayor has said.

    Sheffield

    Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley are to have extra restrictions following an agreement between him and the government.

    He said: "We all recognise the gravity of the situation and have taken the responsible route to ensure we save lives and livelihoods, and protect our NHS.

    "More older people are contracting the virus. The number of people with COVID in our hospitals has doubled over the last ten days, with no signs this will relent over the coming weeks.

    "Inaction was not an option."

    Tier three is the highest level in the government's coronavirus alert system, with the region moving up from tier two.

  5. 'Difficult winter' ahead unless virus is halted - Mayor

    People face a "difficult winter" unless the spread of Covid-19 is stopped, according to the Mayor of the Sheffield City Region Dan Jarvis.

    Dan Jarvis

    Mr Jarvis, who is also Labour MP for Barnsley Central, made the comment as he responded to the Prime Minister's announcement of new local alert levels for coronavirus restrictions.

    Under the new system, Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield will all be classed as Tier 2 - or "high" alert - areas.

    "High" alert means households will be banned from mixing indoors and the "rule of six" will apply outdoors.

    While pubs and bars will still have to close at 22:00, they will not be forced to shut completely.

    Mr Jarvis said he "accepts the need" for the new restrictions, but added that the government was "failing to grasp the scale of action required".

    "We are entering a new phase in our efforts to overcome the coronavirus and we face a difficult winter unless we stop its spread," he said.

    "The new system brings restrictions without additional economic support at the ‘high’ alert level. This lands another blow for our high streets and businesses who face takings and trade falling further.

    "We need a local lockdown lifeline so businesses, suppliers and the self-employed are fairly compensated from restrictions which cut their income."

    Mr Jarvis added that for the restrictions to work "they must be crystal clear to command people's confidence".

  6. What is the proposed coronavirus 'three-tier' system?

    Boris Johnson is due to announce a new "three-tier" Covid restrictions system for England. But what does it mean for people living in those areas?

    The Prime Minister is to address Parliament at 15:30, setting out different rules for regions classified as being on "medium", "high" or "very high" alert:

    Tier levels graphic

    It means places that are categorised as being in Tier 1 have fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people. These areas get the minimum restrictions applied to them.

    Tier 2 is triggered when a rise in transmission cannot be contained through local responses.

    Mayor of Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, has already said South Yorkshire will be in this tier.

    In Tier 2, Covid-19 cases are above 100 per 100,000 people.

    In Tier 3, it means there has been a "significant" rise in transmission of the virus.

    It's been hinted that Liverpool is expected to be in this tier.

  7. 'South Yorkshire to be Tier 2' - Mayor on lockdown level

    The whole of South Yorkshire is to be placed in the second tier of a new Covid restrictions system set to be introduced in England, the mayor of the Sheffield City Region has said.

    Dan Jarvis

    Dan Jarvis wrote on Twitter saying that following a conversation with Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the area was to be placed into Tier 2.

    Tier 2 is triggered when coronavirus infections in a particular area rise above 100 per 100,000 population and can't be contained through local responses.

    The Prime Minister is to address Parliament at 15:30, setting out different rules for regions classified as being on "medium", "high" or "very high" alert.

    Mr Jarvis said: "We cannot afford this without additional support - otherwise we will languish in local restrictions with no clear way out.

    "We've put a plan to [government] and are awaiting more details," he added.

  8. More Covid restrictions 'inevitable' in North - Mayor

    People living in the north of England should expect more coronavirus restrictions to be imposed, according to the mayor of the Sheffield City Region.

    Dan Jarvis, who is also the Labour MP for Barnsley Central, told the BBC he wanted a more "joined-up" approach between local, regional and national government.

    Financial aid should be given to already-struggling businesses in Yorkshire to help them survive, he added.

    Video content

    Video caption: Sheffield City Region's Dan Jarvis is wanting a joined up approach to tackling the virus.

    The government said it had given councils "unprecedented" support during the pandemic, "with a package of over £4.8bn, including £3.7bn which is not ringfenced and over £1.1bn specifically to support social care providers".

    There had been "significant and regular engagement" with councils, with £28bn being given to local areas to support businesses and communities, it added.

  9. Mayor calls on public 'resilience and grit' to beat virus

    Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis has warned people in South Yorkshire the region is at a "critical moment" in the fight against coronavirus.

    Dan Jarvis

    Speaking after Sheffield was escalated to an area of enhanced support and Rotherham was named an area of concern, Mr Jarvis MP called on residents to "play their part" and warned that if infection rates continue to rise "we won’t hesitate to call on the Government to bring in local lockdown measures".

    He said: "We can prevent this. By working together, maintaining social distance, limiting our contact with others, and crucially isolating if you have symptoms or have been asked to isolate, we can stop the spread of the virus.

    “I know that people in South Yorkshire are strong and resolute. We look out for each other and have the resilience and grit to get through these challenging times. At this critical moment, before winter starts to bite, I’m calling on everyone in South Yorkshire to stick to the rules so we can all stay safe - and together, we will get through this.”

  10. 'Bring in Army to stop lockdown' - South Yorkshire Mayor

    The military should be called in to prevent a potential local lockdown in South Yorkshire, says Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis.

    A covid testing centre run by the army in Scotland

    Mr Jarvis, who was a major in the Parachute Regiment, said there were problems with the government's test and trace system, made worse by 60,000 university students arriving in Sheffield.

    Military support has already been called in in Birmingham to help with the testing programme in the West Midlands.

    In a letter to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Mr Jarvis, who is also the Labour MP for Barnsley Central, said action needed to be taken to stop a "rapid" rise in cases.

    He said: "Now is the moment to act decisively, before we see more lives, jobs and businesses across South Yorkshire put at risk.

    "For this reason, I would strongly urge you to immediately utilise the excellent, strategic capabilities within our Armed Forces to help manage the current crisis regarding testing.

    "The country must draw upon every resource at its disposal if we are to manage the risk posed by Covid in the days, weeks and months ahead."

  11. MPs back call to help South Yorkshire music venues

    Music venues in South Yorkshire should get help to stay open after being hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, according to MPs.

    Leadmill

    Local venues lost £1.2m in revenues during the first two months of the pandemic, according to a survey carried out the University of Sheffield.

    South Yorkshire MPs are now backing calls from the Sheffield City Region (SCR) to provide fincancial support for the music industry.

    The SCR music board wrote to the department of digital, culture, media and sport asking for tailored help.

    It was backed by MPs Louise Haigh, Stephanie Peacock, Gill Furniss, Paul Blomfield, Clive Betts and Sarah Champion.

    Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, said: "Music is an important part of South Yorkshire’s culture and economy – and it has suffered badly in the aftermath of this pandemic.

    “We’ve got to get the industry the help it needs to get through the crisis.”

    “I welcome the government’s £1.57bn support package for the arts, but more is needed to fully support the music industry through these uncertain and unprecedented times.

    “While we have seen pubs, bars and restaurants open up, our music venues remain closed and the economic shockwave is being felt across the industry in South Yorkshire, where the industry was already being short-changed by government before the coronavirus hit."

    A crowd in the Leadmill
  12. Yorkshire tourism body gets cash boost from councils

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    South Yorkshire’s political leaders have signed off a funding package to help the Welcome to Yorkshire tourism organisation.

    Welcome to Yorkshire

    Sheffield City Region, along with contributions from Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley councils, agreed to hand the cash-strapped organisation £300,000 of public money.

    The decision was made in private, with the public and press barred from listening listen to the debate and decision over the move, at a recent mayoral combined authority meeting.

    Welcome to Yorkshire requested about £1.4m in a bailout package from the region’s councils due to financial problems.

    Many have obliged, but three councils in North Yorkshire have refused.

    Last year, Welcome to Yorkshire was criticised for a "spend now, worry later" culture, with former boss Sir Gary Verity being subject to a police investigation about expenses claims.

    Police action was dropped last month following an investigation by West Yorkshire Police.

    Sir Gary, who resigned in March 2019 on health grounds, has always denied any allegations of wrongdoing.

  13. South Yorkshire devolution unlocks new funding for region

    South Yorkshire's devolution deal was signed by government yesterday - more than four-and-a-half years after it was first announced.

    South Yorkshire buildings

    The deal will unlock almost £1bn of funding over the next 30 years and extra control over transport, strategic planning and skills in the region.

    Yesterday saw the order, which was drawn up in October 2015, be signed into law by government minister Simon Clark MP.

    Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis said it was a "great day" for South Yorkshire.

    He said: "The landmark South Yorkshire Devolution deal has today been signed into law.

    "This is a great day for South Yorkshire because millions of pounds in additional funding and new powers are available to support jobs and businesses, unlock opportunities for our people and deliver better public services.

    “Devolution will open up our local knowledge and networks, bring power closer to the people, and help us reshape our economy and society in a way which reflects our values and priorities. I am determined to create a stronger, greener and fairer South Yorkshire and North and this is just the start of our journey.”

  14. Tram-train expansion plan to take in all of South Yorkshire

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Ambitions have been set to extend the tram-train service to all parts of South Yorkshire, giving access for thousands of people along existing railway lines.

    A tram-train

    Places in Sheffield like Beighton, Stocksbridge, Heeley, Totley, and Handsworth are some of the places that could all in future become part of the tram-train network using existing rail routes.

    Places like Meadowhead and other stops along the A61 Chesterfield Road could also be used if needed, according to plans from the Sheffield City Region (SCR).

    SCR bosses are keen to expand the service to Barnsley and Doncaster - two places where councils pay a levy towards the network without directly benefiting.

    Mayor Dan Jarvis has previously said that there is an ambition to roll the network out from Waverly towards Mexborugh before a terminus at Doncaster Sheffield Airport and also towns in the Barnsley Dearne Valley area.

    Plans in the SCR Transforming Cities Fund scheme and Integrated Rail Plan for tram-train also include a 300-space park and ride at Parkgate in Rotherham by 2021 and a station at Magna by 2022.

  15. New £75m investment for South Yorkshire announced

    Over £75m is to be spent across South Yorkshire building new homes and improving open spaces, it's been announced.

    Doncaster town centre

    Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis announced the government cash boost, with £40m expected to be spent on building 3,500 new homes on brownfield land over the next five years.

    Meanwhile, over £33m of the headline cash will be spent on the new Barnsley "digital campus", new cycling and walking routes in Doncaster and improvements to Rotherham town centre.

    The money will be used alongside the recently-approved Forge Island development, where a new leisure quarter will be built.

    Three new areas have been identified in Sheffield city centre which will be improved, to help "improve air quality, biodiversity and reduce flooding".

    Rotherham Town Centre

    Mr Jarvis said: "This is a huge boost for South Yorkshire, providing investment that will create jobs, build new homes and improve our town centres – making a real difference to people’s lives across the region.

    "The schemes will improve walking and cycling routes, enable more active travel, improve air quality and support our fight against climate change. Building 3,500 affordable and high-quality homes will create jobs and economic growth for the region."

    Rotherham Council leader Chris Read, said: "This is welcome additional cash from the government that will allow us to bring forward more quickly three projects we have wanted to see in the borough for some time – improving the town centre, supporting new businesses in the Wath area, and tackling traffic congestion through Greasbrough."

  16. South Yorkshire devolution deal set for approval

    South Yorkshire's devolution deal will be finalised in Parliament later, four years after it was first announced.

    The four councils

    The county, under Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis, will have new powers and receive about £30m from Whitehall.

    Local Government Minister Simon Clarke said the deal would "unlock real benefits for people across South Yorkshire".

    Mr Jarvis said it would bring "significant transformations" across the county.

    He added: "We have to make the most of the benefits devolution has to offer."

    The order for the deal will be laid in Parliament after letters of agreement were submitted by the mayor and council leaders in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

    The deal is set to be approved and then the devolved money will be available, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

    The mayor will have power over transport, strategic planning and skills in the region, plus £900m over 30 years.

  17. Public ownership of buses to be considered following review

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    The possibility of taking South Yorkshire buses back into public control or in the way of a franchise should be seriously considered, a comprehensive review has suggested.

    A bus

    The findings of the South Yorkshire Bus Review chaired and compiled by Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts, has found a raft of shocking failings throughout the county’s public transport network.

    Recommendations show Sheffield City Region bosses should procure the necessary expertise to "financially and legally investigate" the process of franchising right away.

    But the possibility of creating a municipal bus company – owned and run by the Sheffield City Region – should come no more than five years after the creation of a new South Yorkshire-wide Enhanced Partnership.

    Franchising should be considered after about three years by June 2023.

    Sheffield Council was the most in favour of taking services back into public ownership or in the way of a franchise model.

    Barnsley Council was said to be the most against it with Rotherham and Doncaster sitting somewhere in between.

    The panel said in a 100-plus page report there was a "lack of leadership" from the bus operators, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), councils and from the Sheffield City Region.

    Mr Betts concluded there is ‘too many layers of leadership’ without the ‘leverage and power’ to bring about real change.

    The body would also be scrapped and merged with the SCR executive team as part of the plans.

  18. 'Clock ticking' over flood plans - Sheffield region mayor

    Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis has reminded the government about the Prime Minister’s commitment to hold a summit with the aim of creating a plan for flood defences.

    People moving sandbags

    Flooding last November had a huge impact in South Yorkshire, with 1,000 homes and over 500 businesses affected - and many people still facing repair work or unable to return home.

    In a letter, Mr Jarvis tells Boris Johnson that communities can't face another devastating flood on top of the economic blows due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    In the letter, he says: "The government is rightly focusing much of its energy on the Covid-19 crisis, but the government has to follow through on their commitments.

    "It is now seven months since the Prime Minister promised to hold a flooding summit so we can take more coordinated and effective action. The clock is ticking."

  19. Report highlights possible economic impact of coronavirus

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    South Yorkshire’s economy could be devastated by the effects of coronavirus through the potential loss of 14,000 businesses and £4bn wiped from the regional economy, experts have warned.

    An empty shop in Yorkshire

    Felix Kumi-Ampofo, from Sheffield City Region (SCR), said the "worst possible scenario" could result in almost a third of small and medium-sized enterprises in South Yorkshire going under.

    One councillor sitting on the SCR scrutiny board said it was "one of the grimmest reports" he’d ever seen.

    Reports examining the experience of the 2008-09 recession and analysis of the impact of Brexit show South Yorkshire’s economy "lacks resilience" and is "vulnerable to economic shocks".

    If the likely recession matches that of the 2008 financial crash, 40,000 jobs could be lost in South Yorkshire alone, but the furlough scheme was a "big mitigating factor".

    Doncaster and Barnsley could be hit harder than Sheffield and Rotherham as they have some of the lowest rates of home working in the country.

    Mr Kumi-Ampofo did add that South Yorkshire’s health care sector was strong and that this was an area which would likely grow further.