‘We need a decision on devolution’ Sheffield councillors call for end to deadlock

SCR Mayor Dan Jarvis
SCR Mayor Dan Jarvis

Sheffield councillors have again called-out the leaders of the four local authorities in the region for failing to agree on a devolution deal.

Currently £20.7 million sits unspent on South Yorkshire until lead councillors of Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster decide on a deal.

It comes from a deal the four authorities made in 2015 with the then Chancellor George Osborne for devolved powers and a total of £900 million over a 30 year period.

The money could be used to improve transport, planning and skills throughout South Yorkshire but instead, elected Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis cannot access it.

This has prompted urgent calls for an agreement as other councillors fear the region is being ‘left behind’.

Councillor Penny Baker, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in Sheffield, attended a recent Sheffield City Region meeting where the chair promised to send letters to each of the leaders inviting them to the next discussion.

She said: “The four leaders need to come to the next City Region meeting and explain why they can’t come to an agreement.

“Every councillor is really clear that it will bring loads of funding for transport and skills so it’s very frustrating for everybody in the area.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats, urged Dan Jarvis to set the leaders a three-month deadline to make a decision.

He said: “Other mayoral regions have already been spending their money and are now asking for further powers and funding.

“We haven’t even agreed what we are doing. Our region doesn’t have a voice without a deal and we are losing out. It’s not Dan Jarvis’ fault, he has inherited this dysfunctional situation.”

The next Sheffield City Region meeting is due to be in April.