Sheffield takes on transport powers in return for mayor

 

The Sheffield City Region has agreed a devolution deal with government that will bring major transport powers and potentially some £900m to the area in exchange for an elected mayor.

From 2017, the mayor will chair to the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority and oversee a range of devolved powers including responsibility over transport budgets, franchised bus services and strategic planning.

The deal, which requires support from each of the local councils, will now be subject to consultation with residents and businesses over the coming months.

It also includes a new ‘gain share deal’ similar to the re-negotiated earn back deal with Manchester, which allows the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to be paid by results as investment in infrastructure improvements boost economic growth.

Similar to Manchester, the Sheffield deal includes a £900m financial package worth £30m a year for 30 years.

In a statement, ministers said they would work with Sheffield: ‘To agree specific funding flexibilities to a Spending Review timetable. The joint ambition will be to give Sheffield City Region Combined Authority a single pot to invest in its economic growth.’

Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton, chair of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, said: ‘This proposal marks the next step on our devolution journey and will enable local leaders to make bigger and better local decisions over skills, business growth and infrastructure.

‘Over the coming months we will be speaking to local residents, businesses and partners about what this means for economic growth in their City Region.’

The deal is one of 38 devolution submissions that were sent to government by 4 September to be considered before the Spending Review.

James Newman, chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: 'Of the 38 nationally submitted proposals this deal is the first to be done - reflecting the confidence of the chancellor in the economic prospects for the Sheffield City Region which has transformed itself over the last ten years, the strength of our economic partnership, the support of our private sector and the quality of our bid into government.'

Chancellor George Osborne said: ‘I want to thank the civic leaders of South Yorkshire who have worked with me to embrace this opportunity.

‘Manchester is not a one-off – far from it. In becoming the second great northern city to sign up to managing its own affairs with this ambitious agreement, Sheffield City Region is playing a vital part in helping to build the Northern Powerhouse.’

Top transport powers include:

· Responsibility over the region’s transport budget, with a multi-year settlement to be agreed at the Spending Review

· Responsibility for franchised bus services, which will support the Combined Authority’s delivery of smart and integrated ticketing across its councils

· Responsibility for an identified Key Route Network of local authority roads that will be collaboratively managed and maintained at the city region level by the Combined Authority on behalf of the mayor

 

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