A blistering attack has been launched on Regional Mayor Dan Jarvis by a senior Sheffield councillor, who says anyone else who had failed to do their job would be sacked.
It’s six months since Mr Jarvis was elected as the first Sheffield City Regional Mayor but the four councils still remain deadlocked over devolution. Almost £17m remains unclaimed and Mr Jarvis has no powers until the deal is signed.
Now Coun Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment, says other areas with Mayors are in “the Premier League” but Sheffield is lagging behind.
It’s the first time Sheffield Labour Group has openly criticised Mr Jarvis and they will put a motion about him before full council next week.
Mr Jarvis said he was disappointed with Coun Iqbal’s comments. He says he can’t sign a deal off on his own and partners needed to “engage constructively” in the process.
In an exclusive interview, Coun Iqbal said: “We have a Mayor that can change people’s lives and the destiny of the region but he has no powers or money and this can’t carry on.
“If I was not doing my job, I would expect to be sacked. I would expect my boss to say, you have been in post for six months, this is what we agreed – what have you have achieved?
“If I had not delivered I would expect them to say clear your desk on your way out. That would happen in any other job. That’s how the world works.
“Dan has spoken about homelessness but his brief is the devolution deal. He put himself forward for this job to represent the region.”
Because of the deadlock, Sheffield was unable to access recent government funding for transport. although Mr Jarvis says this remains one of his priorities.
Coun Iqbal said: “The other Mayors were given the funding but we now have to compete with everywhere else for it, which is another frustration.
“Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool are in the Premier League. If Dan had signed the deal, we would be in the Premier League too.
“Those resources are life changing but this is just holding us back from realising our potential as a city region.
“Dan knew Doncaster and Barnsley were not in favour before he went for the job. This was not something that landed on his lap.
“It’s not easy for me to say this because he is our Mayor. I just don’t know what he is thinking or who is advising him.”
Coun Iqbal said the business community were also unhappy with the lack of progress.
“I have been involved in this for almost 18 months so I live and breathe it and it’s not just my frustration, it’s the business community that has brought this to a head. This is an economic deal.
“Dan needs to explain himself to the business community. We are a city that makes, innovates and creates but we want to see some action.”
Mr Jarvis said his position on devolution had not changed. “I want to see the Sheffield City Region deal implemented, but that requires the agreement of all four local leaders, the government and myself. I cannot sign it off on my own.
“It is in the best interests of our residents and businesses if all partners recognise this and engage constructively in the process, so together we can find a way to break the long-standing deadlock.
“I will continue to implement the manifesto on which I was elected, including growing an inclusive economy, ensuring our people have the required skills and training, and making sure our transport network is fit for the 21st century.
“On a personal note, it is particularly disappointing that Coun Iqbal has chosen to take his concerns to a newspaper rather than speak to me in person. If he had, I would have explained how the devolution legislation works, and why tackling homelessness is important to both me and our local community, and was in the manifesto on which I was elected.”