Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Government agrees to South Yorkshire devolution deal

Clockwise: council offices in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Image copyright Geograph/JThomas/David Pickersgill/PA
Image caption The leaders of (clockwise) Barnsley, Doncaster, Sheffield and Rotherham councils have been working on a deal for devolution in the region for nearly four years

The government has given the go-ahead to a South Yorkshire devolution deal.

James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has told Sheffield City Region Combined Authority a deal can go ahead.

It comes after the county's political leaders reached a consensus on its stalled devolution deal earlier this year, after nearly four years, and offered up a new proposal.

The Sheffield City Region term will run until 2022.

Mr Brokenshire wrote to Mayor Dan Jarvis and the four leaders of Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster councils to accept their latest proposal.

The original deal meant £30m government cash a year for Sheffield City Region for the next 30 years, or while it is in existence.

It would also mean control over policy areas such as transport, housing and skills.

Any council wishing to leave Sheffield City Region after 2022 and join a wider Yorkshire deal would be free to do so.

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Image copyright Other
Image caption James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wrote to Mayor Dan Jarvis and the leaders of the South Yorkshire councils, to accept their latest proposal

Mr Brokenshire said he "welcomed the commitment" of the leaders and Mayor Dan Jarvis to South Yorkshire devolution, and their "pragmatic solution" in finding a new deal.

He said he "recognises the strength of the Yorkshire identity."

The letter added the government is "ready to accept localist devolution elsewhere in Yorkshire" if it is wanted.

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield City Region, said it was a "positive response" and represented an "important step towards devolution of further powers and resources to communities".

But he said devolution was "a process, not an event" and more dialogue would take place.

Sheffield City Region devolution

Former chancellor George Osborne signed an in-principle agreement with local politicians in October 2015, granting an elected mayor who would have power over transport, strategic planning and skills, as well as £900m over 30 years.

But in September 2017, the leaders of Barnsley and Doncaster council voted down the offer, instead backing a proposed "One Yorkshire" deal.

Despite extensive efforts to negotiate a broader deal the government repeatedly rejected those plans and urged council leaders to enact the South Yorkshire agreement, leading to an impasse.

Dan Jarvis was elected Mayor of Sheffield City Region in May 2018.

In March, he and the council leaders agreed on a "pragmatic solution" to unlock the Sheffield City Region deal while supporting future devolution developments.

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