Tuesday, December 12, 2017

News: SCR role for Rotherham leader Read

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Cllr. Chris Read, the leader of Rotherham Council, has become the chair of the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Combined Authority (CA), taking on the role from Cllr. Sir Steve Houghton CBE, the leader of Barnsley Council.

Houghton temporarily stepped down from the role earlier this year as his authority, along with Doncaster, focused on a potential "One Yorkshire" devolution solution. Read has continued to commit to the devolution deal for the SCR, stating in September that "there is no Yorkshire deal."


As a proposed devolution deal stumbles, a Mayoral Combined Authority is still set to be created in the SCR, 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.

A mayoral election was delayed following a legal challenge over the consultation brought by Derbyshire County Council. Chesterfield and Bassetlaw Councils withdrew their applications to be full members of the Combined Authority.

Whilst a lack of consensus from the leaders of South Yorkshire's four councils denied the SCR the chance to conclude a devolution deal with the Government, an election is still due to take place next year.

The new Sheffield City Region Mayor is due to assume the Chair of the Combined Authority at the first meeting after the mayoral election i.e. the June 11 AGM.

With responsibility for looking after the funds for the work of the Local Enterprise Partnership and transport executive, the CA had income of £214m for 2016 / 17. No Members' Allowances or expenses were paid for the year.

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Sheffield and Rotherham Councils appear committed to the £900m Sheffield city region devolution deal that includes a new gain share deal within an envelope of £30m a year for 30 years – giving the SCR the power to use new funding to boost local growth and invest in local manufacturing and innovation. In return, the Government will require a directly elected mayor to hold accountability for the new powers.

Cllr. Read (pictured), said: "This is an exciting time for Sheffield City Region and it is a privilege to take up the position of chairman of the Combined Authority.

"I am also pleased to see so many bids have been submitted in response to the open call. The "let's get it done" work-ethic in Sheffield City Region harnesses drive and ambition.

"At SCR, we deliver. We keep our promises and get things done in an honest, no-nonsense way. This is helping us to build a truly competitive centre of business excellence. I look forward to seeing the best of these schemes coming through to fruition."

Cllr. Houghton, added: "It has been a privilege to be the chair of the Sheffield City Region. It is important now that I focus on Barnsley's ambitions for devolution.

"In the meantime, I will do as much as I can to support the new chair."

Following the breakdown of the SCR devolution deal, the region has encountered budgeting problems with the uncertainty over gain share funding, seen the Government delay the start of an employment support project and create problems for the Skills Bank.

In the Autumn Budget, areas which have a devolution deal involving a Mayor were guaranteed a large pot of money for transport projects whilst the SCR will need to bid for a slice of the remaining fund. A sector deal based around advanced manufacturing in the SCR has yet to be secured.

Images: RMBC / twitter

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