Tuesday, August 28, 2018

News: "Not enough progress" on SCR devolution

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Dan Jarvis, mayor of the Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority is working to secure more powers and funding for the Sheffield city region (SCR).

Elected in May, the Barnsley MP has been speaking of his first 100 days in office, discussing the launch of new initiatives such as Working Win and the submission of a £100m bid to secure transport cash from the Government.

However, Jarvis added that: "one area where not enough progress has been made is devolution."

With the collapse of the proposed 2015 devolution deal, the authority outlined during the election that the "Mayor will be a major figure in the political life of the area. They will act as an ambassador for the area; promoting it as a place to live, work, visit and invest in."

Orders went through Parliament but 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.

This was followed by a lack of consensus from the leaders of South Yorkshire's four councils which denied the SCR the chance to conclude a devolution deal with the Government.

Barnsley and Doncaster have focused on a potential "One Yorkshire" devolution solution and a "two tier" solution was mooted to avoid an election which had a budgeted cost of £1.9m. It would involve the SCR deal being concluded and then authorities being "allowed" to join a wider Yorkshire authority at a later date.

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Dan Jarvis, mayor of the Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority, said: "Some think we should focus on implementing the 2015 devolution deal, some think we should push for greater mayoral powers, and some think we should push ahead with a wider Yorkshire deal. I think we should do all three.

"We must resolve this, but to do so needs the agreement of all South Yorkshire leaders and a willing partner in Government. I will be working with the leaders and ministers to ensure we make progress in the coming weeks so that we can secure more powers and funding for the region.

"Within the SCR I have found dedicated staff and a desire to succeed, but the organisation is still transitioning from Combined Authority to Mayoral Combined Authority.

"More work needs to be done, and governance structures need to change. So, I have instigated a review of our decision-making arrangements, to make them fit for purpose. These changes won't lead the news – but they are fundamental."

The SCR Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which provides the strategic leadership required to set out local economic priorities, has recently appointed new private sector members to its board.

The new Board members include: Peter Kennan, Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser and Chair of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce & Industry Transport Forum; Tan Khan, Monaghans; Julia Muir, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gaia Innovation Ltd and Founder UK Automotive 30% Club; Lucy Nickson, Chief Executive Officer – One Health Group; Ged Shields, former Vice President for Corporate Planning and Development at Sherwin-Williams and Chair of the Barnsley Economic Partnership; and Alison Kinna, Senior Vice President, SCM at Outokumpu also joins the Board as a co-opted member.

Last month, the Government published its "Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships" report, making it clear that the mission for LEPs is to address productivity.

SCR website

Images: SCR / twitter

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