Tuesday, July 18, 2017

News: SCR devolution deal decision deferred

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Political leaders have decided to defer a decision on the £900m Sheffield City Region (SCR) devolution deal.

As part of a deal with central government, a Mayoral Combined Authority is set to be created, building on the 2013 agreement which saw the nine local authorities that comprise the city region create a new legal body with responsibility for transport, economic development and regeneration.

Following withdrawals from councils who had originally intended to become constituent members, and with others wanting to secure the best possible devolution deal for their area, the combined authority (CA) was due to decide a way forward this week.

Ahead of the meeting, Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, the private sector-led board which brings together business leaders and local politicians to make decisions that drive economic growth and create new jobs, wrote an open letter calling on city region politicians to keep a focus on devolution.

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The members of the CA deferred a decision on implementation of its devolution deal until September and Cllr. Sir Steve Houghton stepped down temporarily from his role as Chair of the CA to avoid any possible conflicts of interest whilst Barnsley explores all other possible devolution options.

Cllr. Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Council and Vice Chair of the Combined Authority, took the Chair for the remainder of the meeting.

Sir Nigel Knowles, Chair of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) (pictured), said: "In Sheffield City Region it is our aim to build a centre of business excellence and a super connected city region. We're delivering on this objective with 37,000 additional jobs and growth focused on high value manufacturing and engineering jobs.

"The LEP remains focused on economic growth and jobs in Sheffield City Region. We are committed to the principle that devolution will help us fulfil our economic potential and that this must happen as soon as possible. This was the message that private sector LEP Board members made emphatically at the LEP Board meeting yesterday. Ultimately, implementing the devolution deal is not a LEP decision and it is the four councils in South Yorkshire that must decide."

Answering a question on devolution in the House of Commons this week, Jake Berry MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, said: "As a proud Lancastrian, it is not for me, nor is it for Government, to tell Yorkshire what devolution deal it should have. However, I gently point out that ​in 2015, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield asked for powers from the Government and we gave them to them; they asked for new money from the Government and we gave it to them; and they asked to have an election next May and we gave it to them.

"When will the people of South Yorkshire learn to take yes for an answer?"

SCR LEP website

Images: SCR LEP


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