Since being elected I have worked to establish the Sheffield City Region (SCR) as a Mayoral Combined Authority, implement the manifesto on which I was elected, and reach a consensus on how to advance devolution both in the Sheffield City Region and across Yorkshire.
My position on devolution has not changed; I want to see the SCR deal implemented along with the development of a One Yorkshire agreement. It is in the best interests of all involved that together we find a way to break the long-standing deadlock. The ongoing Brexit process has served only to further underline the urgent need for an agreement.
The Government are considering the case for a “One Yorkshire” devolution settlement, submitted by 19 of Yorkshire’s 21 locally elected leaders. Given the strategic importance of the proposal, and the weight of evidence and opinion behind it, the Government have committed to giving it detailed consideration and have confirmed an intention to formally respond in the near future. I have made clear my desire to see this happen before Christmas.
In addition to their consideration of the “One Yorkshire” proposal, the Government are reviewing Local Enterprise Partnership arrangements, and by Christmas are due to publish a ‘Devolution Framework’ and begin a consultation on the future of the Shared Prosperity Fund. Along with the response to the “One Yorkshire” proposal, all of these policy developments will be important aspects of any further devolution discussions and decisions.
Their discussions include numerous participants and include not only the four constituent local authorities of South Yorkshire (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield), the five non-constituent SCR local authorities (Derbyshire Dales, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Bolsover and Bassetlaw) and me, but also the other 16 local authorities of Yorkshire and, most critically, the Government.
These are complex matters which deserve the full attention and detailed consideration of all levels of government. However, I have made clear that I expect them to be treated as urgent priorities and resolved in the best interest of the communities we serve.
In the meantime, I will continue to work with the Government and our local authorities to implement the policies laid out in my manifesto.