A Government minister has once again told political leaders in South Yorkshire that the Sheffield City Region devolution deal must be up and running before any future ‘One Yorkshire’ settlement is considered.
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire yesterday told the BBC that the priority of everyone in the region should be on getting devolution working in South Yorkshire, before looking at other options.
The long-planned Sheffield City Region deal involving Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham councils hit the buffers earlier this year after Barnsley and Doncaster turned their back on the deal in favour of a pan-Yorkshire devolved government.
And the continuing impasse means millions of pounds in funding is going unspent, while the newly-elected Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis has few powers and little to do.
Mr Brokenshire said: “There is already a deal on the table in Sheffield. I want to see that city region with its mayor being able to get on and deliver for its community and unlock the funding for that part of South Yorkshire.
“Obviously I will continue to look at devolution for Yorkshire but the priority needs to be on getting the Sheffield City Region up and running and people getting behind that deal and so that we can then look at what other devolution may be appropriate for Yorkshire.”
Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis last week said his position on devolution had not changed.
He said he wanted to see the Sheffield City Region deal implemented along with the development of a One Yorkshire agreement and that it was in the best interests of all parties that a way was found to break the long-standing deadlock.
He said: “Since being elected I have worked to establish the Sheffield City Region 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.”
Mr Jarvis added that he hoped a Government promise to give detailed consideration to the case for a ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution deal submitted by 19 of Yorkshire’s 21 locally elected leaders would happen before Christmas.