Dan Jarvis has promised to be “ruthless” in ensuring Yorkshire wins powers and money from Westminster and unites under one mayor.
Talking tough in his first major press interview since being elected Sheffield City Region mayor, the ex-paratrooper told The Yorkshire Post: “I’m not mucking about”.
“People should be under no illusions that I mean business,”Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis
He described it as a “critical moment” with Britain leaving the EU and urged Ministers to respond to “detailed” proposals for a pan-Yorkshire devolution deal agreed by 18 out of 20 of the region’s councils.
Following meetings with all four South Yorkshire council leaders, he urged them to “give a little” to break an impasse which has left his job with virtually no powers or money and devolution in the region up in the air.
And after talks with Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry, he warned that “tinkering around the edges” will not fix the North-South divide.
Mr Jarvis said the appointment of new Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire presents an opportunity to move forward with the “One Yorkshire” agenda he consistently championed in his campaign for mayor.
The Labour MP for Barnsley Central stressed he now has a mandate from the public for a pan-Yorkshire deal after winning the May 3 mayoral election with 144,154 votes (47 per cent).
“People should be under no illusions that I mean business,” he said.
“I’m here to do a job and I’m going to get on with it and I want people to work with me and I hope that they will.
“But I’m not mucking about here, the stakes of all this are very high, there’s a wonderful opportunity to take our region forward and I am going to be ruthless of using every means to make sure that we don’t miss out.”
Within the Sheffield City Region, Doncaster and Barnsley have backed One Yorkshire.
But Sheffield and Rotherham favour a South Yorkshire deal and are the entire region’s only councils not to sign up to One Yorkshire.
Mr Jarvis said: “There needs to be some movement, I think in politics as in life you have to give a little in certain areas and you have to be acknowledging the fact that there needs to be an element of compromise.
“Devolution carries some risks, but it also provides huge opportunities and we’ll only make the most of those opportunities if we can do that collectively amongst ourselves.
“All of us have to accept that responsibility.”
Transport a major priority
Dan Jarvis is taking “personal responsibility” for improving transport in the Sheffield City Region (SCR).
The mayor will “lead from the front” by taking up the SCR cabinet role for transport to address an “imbalance” between the North and South.
He said he would look to introduce a smart card ticket system, improve links within South Yorkshire and with the rest of the North and London, and improve cycling provision.
Mr Jarvis said: “It is still too difficult and expensive to get around and I want to make sure all of our people have better connectivity to enable them to take up the opportunities we want to put in place.”