Hiba Mahamadi 25 March 2019

South Yorkshire devolution deadlock broken

The years-long devolution stalemate in south Yorkshire has finally been resolved.

The leaders of Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley MBCs, Sheffield City Council, and the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority have today announced their decision to accept the devolution deal handed to them in 2015, until the end of mayor Dan Jarvis’ term in 2022.

The deal, which saw the election of mayor Jarvis last year, includes £900m in investment over a 30-year period for the south. But the investment has been on hold after Barnsley and Doncaster MBCs withdrew from the agreement demanding one deal for the whole of Yorkshire in September 2017.

This dispute has now been resolved, and in a letter to communities secretary James Brokenshire, the leaders wrote:

“We all want to see the Sheffield City Region deal powers and funding unlocked, in place and used up until the end of this current mayoral term in 2022. Our view is that Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and the Sheffield Combined Authority should remain in its current form until the end of this term.”

However, they added all councils reserve the right to choose their own path once that term expires:

“Each council has the right to make its own choices about its devolution arrangements, including the right to join, or not to join, a wider Yorkshire grouping from the outset if that is what individual places wish to do. None of that should be to the detriment of any individual council that wishes to remain in the current devolution arrangement

“At the end of this current mayoral term, those councils that do not see their future in a south Yorkshire arrangement must be free to join an alternative devolution group.”

The leaders have vowed to support each other to achieve their individual goals. They have also asked the Government to draw up a new deal that would allow such an arrangement to take effect.

Mayor Jarvis said he was “delighted” at the resolution, adding this is an “important day for our region”.

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