Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire political leaders agree on devolution deal

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

Political leaders have agreed to move forward with a South Yorkshire devolution deal - more than four years after it was initially announced.

Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield council leaders with Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, said the deal had been agreed.

A deal for South Yorkshire will go to public consultation this year.

The original deal, for Sheffield City Region, was struck in October 2015 proposing a directly-elected mayor.

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

But efforts to secure an agreement were dogged by a rival plan for a pan-Yorkshire agreement.

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Wednesday's announcement suggests the South Yorkshire deal will now come to fruition, almost two years after Mr Jarvis was elected.

Mr Jarvis and the four council leaders from Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, said it "represents a significant step forward in securing additional powers and resources for our region".

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "I'm delighted that we are close to getting the Sheffield City Region Devolution Deal over the line and I welcome the commitment shown by local leaders over the last few days that has got us to this position."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Dan Jarvis has been MP for Barnsley Central since 2011

Analysis

Liz Roberts, BBC Radio Sheffield's political reporter

The deal was announced with great fanfare in October 2015 - back when George Osborne was chancellor - remember him?

But since then it's been beset with problems, largely down to rifts and disagreements between leaders, the latest being that Barnsley and Doncaster favoured the idea of joining a One Yorkshire Deal.

The government has made clear that's not going to happen, at least not yet, but today it has agreed to a compromise; that it'll continue talks on an enhanced role for a committee of leaders from across the whole of Yorkshire, in other words formalising what they were already doing, which is working together.

This has been enough to persuade the South Yorkshire leaders to push ahead with the original deal. There are formalities to go through but Mayor Dan Jarvis says it's a significant step. It certainly paves the way to unlocking hundreds of millions of pounds, an announcement on which could come as soon as the budget in March.

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