£900m for the Sheffield City Region in new devolution deal
Local politicians and business leaders have today secured an in-principle deal with the Chancellor George Osborne to transfer national powers and control over funding from national Government departments to the Sheffield City Region – as well as securing a massive £900 million additional cash boost over the next thirty years to deliver major regeneration, infrastructure and business growth schemes.
The Chancellor, who with local leaders from the Sheffield City Region was in China last week promoting the City Region as part of his Northern Powerhouse plans, will be in Sheffield City Region to meet with local leaders and announce the proposed deal which concludes a month of detailed negotiations between the City Region and Government.
The deal which will need to be formally approved by each of the local councils within the Sheffield City Region and which is subject to a programme of consultation and engagement with residents and businesses over the coming months is dependent upon the Government delivering on the promises it has made in this and previous deals, and the City Region agreeing to the creation of a directly-elected Mayor.
It is a deal that marks another step in the journey that the Sheffield City Region has taken over the last five years in securing greater control over its own economic affairs. It enables the City Region to build on some of its world class assets, including the Sheffield and Rotherham based Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, aligning the new Doncaster-based National College for High Speed Rail with the new Institutes of Technology to help meet the wider set of national infrastructure challenges, major town centre improvement plans in Barnsley and the Enterprise Zones across the whole City Region.
The deal covers a range of themes including transport, skills, creating new jobs, inward investment and support to help local businesses export as well as committing to working with Government on new ways to incentivise local growth.
Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, said: “This proposal marks the next step on our devolution journey and will enable local leaders to make bigger and better local decisions over skills, business growth and infrastructure. Over the coming months we will be speaking to local residents, businesses and partners about what this means for economic growth in their City Region.”
James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “For too long Whitehall has been in control of major decisions affecting local places on important issues such as transport, skills, regeneration and infrastructure improvements. This deal goes some way to redressing this imbalance. It also means that the local private sector continues to play a leading role in making decisions which impact business growth, alongside combined authority political leaders and the new city region mayor. This deal will enable local leaders to accelerate delivery of the jobs and new businesses that our local economy needs to grow. This positions Sheffield City Region at the front of the Northern Powerhouse pack and strengthens our position as a world class centre for modern manufacturing and engineering technology.
“The deal is focused on the issues that businesses and local leaders have identified as being crucial to speeding up economic growth in Sheffield City Region. Of the 38 nationally submitted proposals this deal is the first to be done – reflecting the confidence of the Chancellor in the economic prospects for the Sheffield City Region which has transformed itself over the last ten years, the strength of our economic partnership, the support of our private sector and the quality of our bid into government.”
Chancellor George Osborne said: “Sheffield is forging ahead in the Northern Powerhouse, which this historic deal proves is taking shape.
“I want to thank the civic leaders of South Yorkshire who have worked with me to embrace this opportunity. It has the power to change the shape of local government in the region in a way that would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago. For local people, it will mean the decisions that affect them being taken locally.
“Manchester is not a one-off – far from it. In becoming the second great northern city to sign up to managing its own affairs with this ambitious agreement, Sheffield City Region is playing a vital part in helping to build the Northern Powerhouse.”
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