Government consults on SCR Authority
This week, the Government has announced a public consultation on plans for a combined authority for the Sheffield City Region (SCR).
The consultation asks for public views on a document, which would create a combined authority to cover Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Doncaster, North East Derbyshire, Rotherham and Sheffield.
Earlier this year, the nine local authorities sent a proposal to Government, which stated that they wanted to work together to boost economic growth and create jobs.
The new authority, to be known as the Sheffield City Region Authority, would have responsibility for transport, economic development and regeneration, as well as replacing the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority.
The nine local authorities that make up the Sheffield City Region have a long history of collaboration, and setting up the SCR Authority involves putting into legislation the partnership that has been in place for some time.
Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council and Chair of the ‘shadow’ SCR Authority said:
“We welcome the Government’s intention to formally recognise the Sheffield City Region Authority. I encourage residents and business leaders to support the Government’s proposals through this public consultation process.
“I would like to assure residents and businesses that this arrangement comes at no extra cost to tax payers and involves no powers being given up by individual local authorities. This is about having robust, democratically accountable structures in place at a City Region level. These structures mirror and complement the private sector-led LEP of which each local authority Leader is an active member.
“This step puts the Sheffield City Region ahead of the game compared with other areas of England. We will be ideally placed to secure devolved powers and funding which Government seek to hand down.
“Leaders from the Sheffield City Region will be considering the detail of the Government’s document and put forward a response as a shadow combined authority.”
James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP said,
“The LEP welcomes news that Government is progressing with plans for the Sheffield City Region Authority.
“The SCR Authority will allow Government to devolve powers to the Sheffield City Region and enable greater decision making at a local level.
“The Sheffield City Region is ahead of the pack with its combined authority arrangements, which sends a clear signal to Government about our local authorities’ desire to work together and strengthen their collaboration with the private sector.”
Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said:
“By encouraging joint working by local authorities across South Yorkshire and more widely, and having all local authority leaders in a room together at one time, decisions can be made quickly. This boosts economic growth and drives forward business success.
“Looking at strategic decision making in this way recognises that an area’s economy, its roads and its rail don’t stop at a local authority boundary.”
The consultation was launched on Monday 12 August and closes on Monday 7 October 2013. A link to the consultation can be found on the Sheffield City Region website www.sheffieldcityregion.org.uk
The direct link to the Government’s consultation page is here: http://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposal-to-establish-a-combined-authority-for-barnsley-doncaster-rotherham-and-sheffield