‘Devolution needs you’- bosses told

James Newman, Chairman of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.
James Newman, Chairman of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.
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Bosses are being urged to show their support for devolution as business and political leaders prepare to take local decision making “to the next level.”

James Newman, chairman of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, has written to hundreds of bosses encouraging them to take part in consultation ahead of a deadline on January 15.

In the proposed deal Chancellor George Osborne will transfer national powers – over transport, skills, job creation, inward investment and business support – and control over funding, from national Government departments, in return for an elected mayor.

It would also mean £900m of extra cash over 30 years for regeneration, infrastructure and business growth schemes.

Mr Newman, who leaves his post after five years at the end of December, said: “This deal will enable our local political and business leaders to take decision-making to the next level, making bigger and better local decisions over skills, business growth and infrastructure. Anyone interested in future business growth in our region should take part before the consultation closes next month.”

“Further work” is required on the powers of an elected mayor, he added.

Prof Keith Ridgway CBE, of Sheffield University, said devolution would give the region “much more autonomy” to pursue major initiatives such as the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District,

He added: “By encouraging inward investment we will be able to build strong regional supply chain relationships, creating high skilled and well paid jobs in the region.”

Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield, the town’s business marketing campaign, said: “Devolution will give the town a seat at a more influential ‘local’ table not to mention more control over our own financial affairs.

“It could also help bring potential funding to the area, further boosting our ambitious plans for growth and development in the area over the next 10 years.”

n www.sheffieldcityregiondevolution.org.uk