Devolution passes new milestone in RotherhamPublished Friday, 2nd October 2015
Council leaders from the Sheffield City Region met with Chancellor George Osborne at Rotherham's Advanced Manufacturing Park today to announce a proposed agreement on the way forward for devolution.
The proposals, worth at least an additional £900 million over the next 30 years, would bring more control of spending on affordable housing, economic investment, public transport, skills training and business support into our part of the world and away from decision makers in London.
They also commit the government and City Region to work together to develop proposals to develop the new High Speed Rail College in Doncaster with the new Institutes of Technology, reflecting its national importance, and to continue to develop the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Waverley into a ground breaking “Innovation District.”
It is only the second time in the country that such an agreement has been reached.
In return, the government will require a directly elected Mayor across South Yorkshire to hold accountability for the new powers. Elections could take place as soon as May 2017.
The plans will now be subject to government announcements in the Comprehensive Spending Review, public consultation, and approval by all nine councils that make up the Sheffield City Region.
Cllr Chris Read, the Leader of Rotherham Borough Council, signed the proposals this morning. He says:
"Today’s announcement in Rotherham is the first of its kind outside Manchester and puts us on the national stage – prioritising jobs, housing and infrastructure. It is a measure of the progress we have made over the last few months that we’re able to do this today, and a measure of our ambition that we’ll be one of the first places in the country to be making these kinds of decisions for ourselves rather than depending on London. It’s important too that at a time when our public services are facing ever increasing pressure, this deal means more cash up front.
"I know that people will have lots of questions about how this might work, and it is important that we engage local residents and businesses in discussion about this. But it is also clear that this is a process, not a final destination reached. It’s an opportunity that we now have chance to realise. We will be continuing to negotiate hard with the government over the coming months in order to make that opportunity into a reality."