Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, has brought together South Yorkshire’s major institutions to lead the region’s economic fightback to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Made up of South Yorkshire’s private sector, business bodies, universities, trade unions, local authorities and community groups, the South Yorkshire COVID-19 Response Group will meet regularly to make sure that everything is being done to make sure the region emerges as strong as it possibly can from the crisis.
It will be responsible for:
- Providing a South Yorkshire-wide perspective on the impact of COVID-19 on the region’s economy and society, and agree actions to support workers, businesses and communities.
- Developing and lobbying for a single set of asks of Government, key partners and industry to ensure South Yorkshire has what it needs to recover from COVID-19.
- Communicating with one voice to the public, workers and businesses across the region, so they are well-informed of how the region is addressing challenges presented by the Coronavirus and planning for the future.
The Group’s first meeting took place on Thursday (April 2) and discussed:
- The need for flexibility over Government funding to support the economy, so South Yorkshire can direct resources to address local challenges.
- Business access to finance from Government-backed Coronavirus support schemes and the banking sector.
- Concerns about social distancing in South Yorkshire’s warehousing and distribution sectors, following the Mayor’s letter to the Government about the employer practices.
- How to support businesses to adapt, helping them innovate and diversify their way out of the crisis.
- Support for the charity and voluntary sector, where finances are under strain.
The Group agreed to work together and establish a plan to support South Yorkshire’s economic recovery. It pledged to showcase the contribution the region’s businesses are making to help the national effort to tackle Coronavirus, such as the production of ventilators and equipment for the NHS by manufacturers and medical technology companies.
Mayor of Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, said:
“The Coronavirus is the greatest public health crisis we have faced, and it poses a massive challenge to our economy. I am working around the clock to keep our economy afloat and make sure South Yorkshire has what it needs to respond to the pandemic.
“I know people in South Yorkshire are resilient, but we must explore every option to support our communities, jobs and businesses. That’s why I have convened the region’s leading institutions to plan our response and ensure we are doing everything we can to help the region now and for the future.
“There will be tough days ahead, but I am determined we come out of this crisis strongly and when the worst is over, we build a brighter, prosperous future for South Yorkshire. By working together, we can make that happen for people living and working here.”
The Group is led by Dan Jarvis, and its members include:
- Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership
- Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce
- Doncaster Chamber of Commerce
- Sheffield Hallam University
- University of Sheffield
- South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner
- South Yorkshire Community Foundation
- South Yorkshire’s four local authorities
- Sheffield City Region
Notes to Editors
To support South Yorkshire during the Coronavirus, the Mayor and Sheffield City Region has:
- Deferred loans for three major companies to ensure cash flow, protect jobs and provide certainty.
- Lobbied the Government to release devolution monies and provide greater flexibility on existing funds to provide instant support to those affected by COVID-19.
- Campaigned for the NHS and its hard-working staff to get the equipment and support they need to keep safe during the pandemic, and pressed for free parking for NHS key workers.
- Lobbied the Government over working practices in South Yorkshire’s warehouse and distribution sector, working with trade unions, metro mayors and councils to address worker’s concerns.
- Put more resource into Growth Hub, to ensure South Yorkshire businesses can access advice and support during COVID-19.
- Written to 7,500 South Yorkshire businesses to make them aware of the support on offer from Government.
- Created a designated webpage which consolidates all available support and information for businesses and the self-employed.
- Extended concessionary travel to over 65s to ensure they can access supermarket grace shopping periods.
- Called on Government to support local newspapers with a public information advertising campaign during Coronavirus.
The Response Group is separate to the public health response lead by the South Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF). The Mayor is in close contact with the LRF, NHS, Public Health England and Police and is making regular representations to Government to ensure the region has the resources and help it needs.