It took longer than expected to get across the line, but South Yorkshire has finally got the go ahead for a Sheffield City Region deal - something trailed back in 2015, but held up by disagreement from some of the authorities making up England’s latest regional devolution.
The devolution deal brings planning functions from Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham councils - a combined population of over 1.3 million people.
For a Government generally characterised as being wedded to central control freakery, the Sheffield City Region deal suggests instead a willingness to explore what local innovation and experimentation can achieve to support the ‘levelling-up’ agenda.
Simon Clarke, Minister of State, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government:
“We have an ambitious agenda to deliver devolution across Yorkshire and getting this deal over the line is an important step towards that. It will deliver real benefits to the people of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, putting decision-making in the hands of these communities and ensuring local leaders have the tools they need to drive forward the city region’s recovery from coronavirus.”
Sheffield City Region will receive an additional £30 million a year in investment funding as well as control of a £35m annual education budget and powers over transport, skills, housing and regeneration.
Dan Jarvis, Metro Mayor for Sheffield City Region:
"This is a great day for South Yorkshire because millions of pounds in additional funding and new powers are available to support jobs and businesses, unlock opportunities for our people and deliver better public services. Devolution will open up our local knowledge and networks, bring power closer to the people, and help us reshape our economy and society in a way which reflects our values and priorities. I am determined to create a stronger, greener and fairer South Yorkshire and North and this is just the start of our journey.”
James is the Editor of GovX Digital, and has been covering digital government and public sector reform for 20 years. He also oversees the development of the agenda for the UK's biggest public sector transformation conference.