Monday, March 15, 2021

News: £860m "new deal" for South Yorkshire regeneration


The fate of future of economic development and regeneration projects in Rotherham and the rest of South Yorkshire could no longer be decided by a formula and London-based government staff and ministers, under ambitious plans set to be approved by the region's Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA).

Through devolution, the MCA in South Yorkshire has been granted some borrowing powers and is set to use them to create a ground-breaking stimulus, worth up to £860m, to revitalise South Yorkshire’s economy and transform the region.

The Mayor said he and local leaders were "rewriting the rule book" to meet the seismic economic challenge posed by COVID.

The investment heralds a "New Deal for South Yorkshire", which will unleash South Yorkshire’s potential, and deliver recovery and renewal for the region after the pandemic.

It will invest hundreds of millions into schemes to protect, create and attract thousands of jobs, train workers and apprentices, back businesses to locate and grow in the region, and transform infrastructure – building South Yorkshire’s transport network and revitalising its high streets and towns.

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Despite the challenges COVID throws at us, our plan sends a crystal-clear message of ambition and confidence: that South Yorkshire is open for business and ready to prosper. The Government may not be willing to back our region, but local leaders and I will not stand by and let our potential be squandered.

“That’s why we’re rewriting the rule book, using powers and resources secured from Westminster, to invest in our people, our businesses and our towns and high streets. This is the power of devolution: it means we can deliver on the priorities of our people: jobs, apprenticeships, better buses, new flood defences, stronger transport links and revitalised high streets and town centres.

“We’re working to create a stronger, greener, fairer South Yorkshire for all – delivering not just recovery, but renewal. Not just a bigger economy, but a better one. We know South Yorkshire’s people and industry rightly have enormous pride in our story so far. We’re reinforcing our reputation as the heartland of British industry and innovation, and we’re making our region an even better place to live, work and invest.

“We’ve started to transform South Yorkshire and we believe that our best days lie ahead of us. That’s why we’re creating the South Yorkshire Renewal Fund – a comprehensive plan to unlock the potential of our people, businesses and places, so everyone can have a stake in our future prosperity. We will deliver a New Deal for South Yorkshire.”

The South Yorkshire Renewal Fund will be considered for approval by the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority at its meeting on Monday 22 March.

The £860m investment is made up of £358m MCA funding for South Yorkshire’s recovery in 2021/2022. This includes the MCA’s first year’s use of its £30m a year "gainshare." From 2022, and following agreement with HM Treasury, the MCA will borrow against its gainshare to create the South Yorkshire Renewal Fund, worth up to £500m. This will roughly be split between: £300m of investment in our places, including infrastructure and transport; and £200m of funding for jobs and skills in South Yorkshire.

Direct support is expected for; jobs and apprenticeships, and helping people find them; helping businesses to survive and thrive; revitalising high streets and building homes; getting people moving with better transport, by foot, bike, bus, tram and train; protecting the planet – retrofitting homes and improving flood defences.

Investment is also expected in infrastructure, flood defences, buses and active travel.

Rotherham schemes already in line for funding include investment in town centre housing and money for strategic acquisitions, funding for the extension at Century Business Centre, the Rotherham to Kilnhurst Flood Alleviation Scheme, and active travel around Broom and the town centre.

Images: Harworth Group


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