Sheffield City Council leader: ‘We move on with ambition after devolution’

Julie Dore said she was determined to keep Sheffield's economy moving forward.
Julie Dore said she was determined to keep Sheffield's economy moving forward.

Sheffield will move forward with “positivity and ambition” following the death of the region’s £900m devolution deal.

Council leader Julie Dore said she had shown the city was a place “you can do business” after honouring her side of the plan over the last two years.

Business leaders revealed their alarm in The Star in June.

Business leaders revealed their alarm in The Star in June.

Sir Steve Houghton of Barnsley and Mayor Ros Jones of Doncaster pulled out at a crunch meeting of the Combined Authority, saying they wanted to pursue a Yorkshire-wide deal.

Without their agreement the plan for £900m funding and local powers is finished. But a ‘metro mayor’ with no powers will still be elected in May, at a cost of £1m, because it has been signed into legislation,

A bitterly disappointed Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore said it was the worst piece of political vandalism she had seen in 17 years in local government.

But after months of uncertainty she now wanted to move on.

“I have proved I can work with anyone in Government, even though I may disagree with them politically.

“We worked with George Osborne to agree this deal in 2015 and the Department for Communities and Local Government. And I’m on good terms with relevant ministers, including business secretary Greg Clark.

“We have stuck to our word throughout this and shown that Sheffield is a place where you can do business. Sadly it seems Barnsley and Doncaster have burned their bridges.

“But we carry on, and Sheffield will move forward with positivity and ambition.”

Rotherham leader Chris Read, who also supported the Sheffield City Region deal, said: “Two years after signing the agreement in good faith, our inability to make progress will almost inevitably mean fewer resources to bring more jobs to our economy.”

Sir Steve and Ros Jones are part of a 17-strong ‘Coalition of the Willing’ councils seeking a pan-Yorkshire deal.

Last week Secretary of State Savid offered talks on the subject for the first time.

But he insisted no council from South Yorkshire could be part of it.

Despite this, Sir Steve said: “Our view in Barnsley is we should continue to work with the Coalition of the Willing.

“If that means we have to wait for the prize we will. I accept the Secretary of State is reluctant to do that - our challenge is to persuade him.”