New powers and millions of pounds in new funding are coming to South Yorkshire this summer, as the region’s landmark devolution deal is agreed.
The order for the Deal will be laid in Parliament on Monday (29th June), after letters of agreement were submitted by Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, and council leaders in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The Deal will be approved in Parliament in the coming weeks with a statutory instrument being used to pass this into law. Following this, millions of pounds of funding will come to South Yorkshire.
The Deal marks a significant breakthrough for the region, equipping local leaders with the tools and resources to build back better from the coronavirus pandemic.
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “This is a landmark moment for our region. We are seeing powers transferred from Westminster – it means more decisions about South Yorkshire will be made in South Yorkshire.
“The journey to reach this point has been long and difficult. I firmly believe it is worthwhile, as it provides leaders in South Yorkshire the opportunity to transform our region. I am confident we will seize this moment to build back better, creating a stronger, fairer, greener economy and society.
“The Deal comes at a crucial time, as we look to overcome the coronavirus pandemic. I am working alongside the leaders of our local authorities, and in partnership with our businesses, universities, colleges and central government, to secure new investment and put us on the road to a stronger, fairer future for South Yorkshire. Devolution does not stop at city region level. This is the start of our devolution journey, and working together across the wider region is going to be even more important than ever before.
“Collectively, we stand ready to unlock economic renewal for the region, the north and the nation, and devolution of powers from Westminster will help enable us to do this. We have new tools in our hands today. Together, we must put them to good use.”
A public consultation that was carried out in the spring, found that people in South Yorkshire overwhelmingly supported devolution. Almost 90% (590 of the 675 respondents) said they supported the principle of devolution of further powers from Westminster. There was strong support for providing local decisions makers with the tools needed to meet local needs and solve local problems, giving greater local autonomy, power and control.
The devolution deal will bring benefits including control of a new, flexible single pot of funding for economic growth, which incorporates an additional £30 million annual allocation over the next 30 years.
It also secures devolved transport powers and funding; full devolution of the Adult Education Budget of around £35m a year, for colleges and training providers; increased planning capacity and powers to deliver housing and economic growth; and greater control over how and where funds are directed.
Much has been achieved at a city region level without the powers and resources of the full devolution deal – but further progress can now be made, at pace.
Since Mayor Jarvis was elected in May 2018, the Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) has awarded more than £100m in Local Growth Fund (LGF) funding for transformative schemes across the region. These projects include the Grey to Green scheme in Sheffield city centre, the Glass Works in Barnsley, the transformation of Doncaster’s Wool Market and the creation of the new Gulliver’s Valley resort in Rotherham.
The MCA has also:
- Secured £170 million in Transforming Cities funding for public transport and Active Travel projects; published an ambitious Transport Strategy and Integrated Rail Plan for the region.
- Commissioned an independent Bus Review across South Yorkshire which put the views of passengers at its heart;
- Appointed multiple world-record Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey as the region’s first Active Travel Commissioner, who’s vision for improving walking and cycling infrastructure across the region has been adopted by the MCA.
- Developed an ambitious programme of work for the city region to have net zero carbon emissions by 2040; and
- Championed the Working Win health-led employment trial, which has helped more than 6,000 people access employment support.
- Convened the South Yorkshire Covid-19 Response Group bringing together anchor institutions from across the region together to develop the region’s economic recovery plan.
- Working with the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System to encourage businesses across South Yorkshire to help with the production of PPE and hand sanitiser for the NHS.