One of the great frustrations in recent years for those involved with the South Yorkshire devolution deal has been the contrast between the tortuous lack of progress in their area and other places such as Greater Manchester and the West Midlands forging ahead with extra money and powers.
The reasons for the delay in bringing the £30m-a-year Sheffield City Region to deal to fruition centred around a wish from Barnsley and Doncaster councils, supported by the results of local referendums, to be allowed to join a wider Yorkshire deal in future.
Now that the impasse has at last been broken following extensive talks, the South Yorkshire deal could finally be signed into law in June.
Local residents will also be heartened to hear that Mayor Dan Jarvis has no plans to add to their council tax bills unlike other areas with devolution deals that have used their precept-raising powers.
But now the Sheffield City Region deal is finally back on track, it is vital that others areas of Yorkshire are not now left behind on devolution.
As such, it is heartening to see Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry involved in what he has described as a “devolution dash” involving meetings with other council leaders from across Yorkshire throughout this week, as well as Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick’s optimism that deals could be in place by the end of this year.
In the long-term, such regional agreements could ultimately provide the foundations for an eventual Yorkshire-wide arrangement. But more immediately, they will help to bring the entire county up-to-speed with what is happening around the country in regards to devolution. Following a lull in the devolution agenda during Theresa May’s premiership, delivering on devolution in Yorkshire will be vital if Boris Johnson is to truly deliver on his promise to ‘level up’ the country.