Thursday, December 1, 2016

News: Chamber alignment as devolution continues

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Presidents of both Sheffield and Barnsley & Rotherham Chambers of Commerce have announced their intention to promote a greater sense of partnership between the two organisations.

The move reflects a desire to work as a "regional chamber movement" across South Yorkshire, ensuring powerful representation of the local business community in a time of devolution, and mirroring the Combined Authority (CA) and Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Currently the region has a forum for Chambers to connect. However, a more aligned position, which will initially see the two chambers strengthen their ties and co-operation, represents a new stage towards the potential creation of a South Yorkshire chamber body, reflecting the voice of business for the whole region.

Darren Pearce, president of Sheffield Chamber, said: "The leadership and governance of the region is set to experience significant change over the next few years, with the establishment of the Combined Authority, the potential of a city region Mayor, and devolution of funding to the region.

"The role of the Chambers is to support business in the evolving economic landscape and our intention is to work ever closer together, positioning the South Yorkshire Chambers as the voice of business for the region."

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Lisa Pogson, newly appointed president at Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber, added: "There is a commitment by both Chamber boards to work in greater co-operation to find an aligned voice on many key issues and establish areas of joint working to ensure we strengthen our proposition to members."

The prospect of electing a mayor for the Sheffield city region in May next year is in some doubt as the CA waits on a draft Devolution Order from the Government. A verbal update on devolution is on the agenda for the upcoming CA meeting.

The authority was seeking clarity from Government on whether a mayor is still needed as there are still significant concerns around the mayoral model amongst a number of city region authorities. Derbyshire County Council is mounting a legal challenge against the consultation regarding the creation of the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority. A two day judicial hearing about devolution plans for Chesterfield took place at the High Court in London earlier this month.

BR Chamber website
Sheffield Chamber website

Images: SCR


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