Delay over Sheffield devolution deal

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A devolution deal for Sheffield - where extra powers will be transferred from Whitehall - is to be announced ‘very soon’ after delays.

The deal was put together by city leaders and had to be put together quickly for the deadline of Wednesday December 3.

It was initially expected to be revealed as part of or just before the Chancellor’s statement on that day.

Then it was expected at the end of next week but there were last minute setbacks due to Government wrangling.

The proposal - expected to focus on the areas of skills, transport and business - will give Sheffield leaders more control over how money is spent instead of letting decisions be made in Whitehall.

Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg, who is to announce the finalised deal, said: “There has been some last minute nervousness in parts of Whitehall which I am working on to resolve.

“There just needed to be a few more days to fight for Sheffield and we can overcome these objections.

“I think it will be announced very soon.”

In his autumn statement Chancellor George Osborne said his “door is open” to cities and towns which want to follow the example set by Manchester and claim greater powers and funding for themselves.

Manchester is to have a directly elected mayor and receive £1.2 billion of investment.

Leeds is also expected to have a devolution deal put in place.

Earlier this year a leading economist said Sheffield was on track to take on more devolved financial powers after the Scottish referendum.

It is likely that the Sheffield City Region combined authority will play a lead role in delivering the new powers.

Sheffield Council chiefs have also said that they hope the move will give them more freedom to focus on what the city needs and is successful at, while shifting from decentralisation of power in London.