Breakthrough on plan to grant greater powers to South Yorkshire

More independence could be given to South Yorkshire now that local authorities have agreed to join forces.

Sheffield City Region (SCR) Mayor Dan Jarvis broke the news today at a Sheffield Combined Authority meeting at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham.

This means that the four local authorities that make up South Yorkshire have come to an agreement to the form of the devolution they wish to ask the government to grant.

The Mayor was in a positive mood describing the agreement as a breakthrough.

He said: “For the first time in a number of years we reached an agreement of how we wish to proceed and that should be warmly welcomed.”

The original Sheffield City Region devolution deal was agreed in 2015 which committed £900 million for the region and a directly elected Mayor for the Sheffield City Region.

For the previous two years there has been deadlock after Barnsley and Doncaster council pulled out of the SCR deal because of their preference for a wider “One Yorkshire” deal.

The impasse was broken by the agreement that any of the authorities can pull out of the deal after Dan Jarvis’ term as mayor expires in 2022.

This is perhaps to ease the fears of the two authorities who were worried that they might be trapped in a South Yorkshire deal as the rest of the Yorkshire merges into one.

Mr Jarvis suggested that Brexit may have played a role in moving the deal forward.

“The urgency of Brexit has has focused peoples minds we are potentially a few days away or perhaps a few weeks away from leaving the European union”

The plan aims to devolve a range of powers and responsibilities to the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority from central government.

It is hoped the development will give strength to Sheffield City Region Combined Authority to improve Sheffield in a variety of areas.

Jarvis and the four leaders of South Yorkshire’s local authorities said in a letter that they have had productive conversations and plans for how devolution in the city will now move forward.

The hope is that this shared position will allow the City Region to draw potentially £30 million a year in funding that could result from a further devolution deal.

The full letter that has now been sent to Sectary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire for him to now approve a devolution deal has been tweeted out by the city region.