City Region agrees devolution deal

Published 12th December 2014 at 9:48am

Sheffield City Region has agreed on a Devolution Deal with Government, which will give local authority and business leaders greater say over how they grow the local economy.

James Newman, Chairman of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“The Devolution Deal transfers a number of powers and policy levers from Government to our City Region. These powers will enable the Sheffield City Region to make a greater contribution to the UK economy and act as a core part of the Northern Powerhouse.

“The deal we’ve negotiated puts our City Region firmly in the driving seat when it comes to influencing key decisions about our City Region that improve skills, create housing and transform transport in the Region and grow local businesses. This builds on our ‘Growth Deal,’ which secured £320 million of funding from Government earlier this year. Devolving powers from Government is a long process and one in which Sheffield City Region is at the forefront, alongside Leeds and Manchester. Government clearly recognises the importance of the Sheffield City Region as part of the North’s future as a global economic powerhouse. This deal also marks an important step toward achieving the City Region’s ten year plan to create 70,000 new private sector jobs and 6,000 new businesses.

“This deal has been made possible because of the close and successful  working relationship between our private sector-led Local Enterprise Partnership and our Combined Authority, which has brought together local political Leaders and business leaders to make better local decisions about our local economy. This is only the first stage in the ‘devolution journey’ and as we have already proved, as a City Region, that we can create growth and new jobs when given the opportunity by Government in previous deals we have done with them, we are confident that this deal will lead to even more and wider powers and funding decisions being transferred to the City Region.”

A crucial element of the devolution deal includes giving the City Region more influence over how funds are used to ensure local businesses have the skills they need to grow. This builds on work already underway to create the Sheffield City Region ‘Skills Bank’, which is being designed by business and Councils across the City Region to give local companies greater influence over the training schemes and apprenticeships on offer. The deal will mean that young people will have better access to the skills they need to get jobs and that local businesses will have access to the skills they really need.

The devolution deal also gives Sheffield City Region the opportunity to work with Government to develop a “trailblazer” Growth Hub for business support. The Growth Hub will create a series of business support centres of excellence across the City Region. This will mean that business support will be in easier reach for the businesses and entrepreneurs – with just one website and one phone number to link businesses to the support they need to grow. The Growth Hub has been designed by business leaders for business leaders. It brings a range of support together including funding options and advice on important growth areas such as innovation and exports.

Through the devolution deal Government has agreed to back the Sheffield City Region’s pioneering tram-train project, which is using existing rail lines to better connect Rotherham and Sheffield. The deal will also include transforming the area’s tram, train bus services through a smart ticketing service. The new service will build on the strength of the local area’s bus partnership to deliver a sustainable and more integrated and affordable transport network for local people.

The deal also means that local leaders will work more closely with the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) and have more of a say over public assets in the City Region, which includes areas of prime real estate for housing and business investors. The HCA and local leaders will a form a single Sheffield City Region Housing Board to manage housing and other key assets. This is a major step towards achieving the 7,000 to 10,000 homes, which are needed to meet the needs of the City Region’s growing economy.

Download a copy of the Devolution Deal:

SCR Devolution Deal

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