EVEN though Dan Jarvis hopes to be the first – and last – elected mayor of the Sheffield City Region because he believes a countywide devolution deal will ultimately be reached and render redundant this new role, his newly-published manifesto highlights the depth, and breadth, of the opportunities that will exist when Yorkshire starts shaping its own future.
His personal blueprint, entitled ‘A Co-operative Community’, recognises the importance of public service, and the need for Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster to heal recent rifts over devolution before establishing how they, and the rest of the country, can come together under the One Yorkshire umbrella and ensure that this region is, never again, the poor relation.
It’s to be commended. Although it will be up to Labour members to endorse Mr Jarvis once a row over former sports minister Richard Caborn’s exclusion from the shortlist is reconciled, the Barnsley MP’s 30-page prospectus offers more detail than some parties at general elections. It even includes a commitment to appoint a female deputy mayor to ensure that all sections of society are represented.
Yet, while there are sceptics who believe that Sheffield City Region won’t receive sufficient funding to make the most of its new policy powers, Mr Jarvis clearly believes it is possible to pay public sector workers a living wage of £8.45 an hour while setting Sheffield City Region Employers’ Charter to encourage private businesses to tackle issues like the gender pay gap. Not only is the former soldier demonstrating his abundant leadership qualities, but he’s also showing down the gauntlet to the rest of Yorkshire and showing the level of change that could be implemented if and when the dynamics of this debate finally shifts to policy.