Sheffield City Region leaders welcome Government devolution plans

Published 8th July 2015 at 12:30pm

The Chancellor has used his Budget speech to announce that Government is looking to negotiate a further devolution deal with Sheffield City Region.

If an agreement can be reached the deal will include an elected mayor who will work with local leaders to oversee new powers devolved from Ministers. The potential deal which is being discussed would see Sheffield City Region granted significant additional powers and the opportunity to take control of its own affairs to support economic growth.

Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, said: “Local leaders in Sheffield City Region have started the conversation with Government on a devolution deal and the possibility for a City Region metro mayor. The Sheffield City Region is central to the success of the “Northern Powerhouse”, at the head of the pack as one of only three areas with a Devolution Deal, alongside Leeds and Manchester.

“We support Government plans to devolve further powers and funding to City Regions because local funding decisions are more effectively made by local Council and business leaders who better understand what our local economy needs to be able to grow. We want to see the economy rebalanced and our productivity rise to strengthen the Northern Powerhouse. However, a deal is not inevitable and any deal for significant changes in governance in Sheffield City Region will only be made if a significant devolution deal is on offer.”

James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “For continued economic and job growth in our City Region we must build and strengthen our existing businesses and attract new businesses to invest. By negotiating a possible deal with Government for more devolution of powers and access to funding streams, the City Region will attract more inward investment, provide more certainty to local economic policy making and local leaders will be better able to plan for the long term.

“Sheffield City Region has a heritage as an industrial powerhouse in its own right and any devolution deal will enable it to play a leading part in both the Northern Powerhouse and a resurgence of manufacturing in the UK.

“This further devolution conversation with Government is a direct result of the success of the City Region in delivering previous deals and the strong public and private sector partnership that has been created and is now being recognised by Government as leading edge.”

Specific details of any deals will not be announced in the Budget but the Chancellor will highlight that talks are underway with Sheffield City Region. Local leaders have stated that a future deal to introduce a metro mayor will only be accepted if it does not disrupt private and public sector partnership arrangements which are already in place in Sheffield City Region.

If a devolution deal can be agreed, it will focus on accelerating delivery of the Sheffield City Region Growth Plan, which aims to stimulate economic growth and create 70,000 jobs over the next decade. For more information on the Growth Plan, the LEP and the Combined Authority, visit www.sheffieldcityregion.org.uk

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