DEVOLUTION: Why should we want greater powers and responsibilities?

editorial image
0
Have your say

The Sheffield City Region has a clear and very ambitious plan to grow its economy.

We want to create 70,000 jobs in the City Region over the next 10 years, through:

Investing in infrastructure

Better skills, employment, and education

Growing businesses and attracting new ones.

To do this, we need greater devolved powers from Westminster.

Devolution will give us the powers to work toward our aims, the money to allow us to do that, and the responsibility to achieve and be accountable for our ambitions.

The Government has been clear that to have the most powers and responsibilities ‘devolved’:

Places must work together

Have an elected mayor with an office with responsibility over powers and resources gained.

All places involved agree the deal, as well as central Government.

The £1.3billion funding we get under our proposed deal will be the responsibility of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority – i.e. the nine elected leaders of the Sheffield City Region councils and the proposed elected mayor’s office.

Devolution will have no impact on core council services - they will continue to be delivered by local councils.

And it will not mean more taxes – the Government has said that proposals for devolution should not cost any more than current spending levels.

This is additional money from Government and it is Government’s responsibility to identify the appropriate funding source.

The funding is vital for the Sheffield City Region economy because:

It is a commitment for the long-term – it is committed for 30 years.

Because we know that the funding will be available, we can borrow against it and attract private sector investment.

We can fund major projects such as new transport connections which can take years to build.  The councils of the Sheffield City Region simply can’t do this at the moment and it is holding our economy back.

Under devolution, the Combined Authority will have new powers too – including over skills.

The mayor’s office will not take any powers from councils in Sheffield City Region.

We will invest the money in the business opportunities that will have the greatest impact on economic growth and jobs in the SCR, regardless of where they are geographically.

So what do we get under Devolution?

At the moment councils in the Sheffield City Region collect £500million in business rates – but we send half of that back to national government. We don’t get any reward for growing businesses here.

Decisions about funding for vocational education and training for young people and adults are made in Whitehall not the Sheffield City Region.

Schemes aiming to help unemployed residents back into work are designed by national government with no local influence in either the design or delivery – which means that our residents don’t get the help they deserve to get back into work.

We would decide how much money was invested in transport per head: at the moment the North gets £166 compared to London’s £332.

We would control the buses and the local transport network.