The leader of Sheffield Council has welcomed Ed Milliband’s plans to create more powerful ‘city regions’ and rebalance the economy away from London.
Mr Milliband has vowed to hand over £4 billion a year from Whitehall to leading areas to help them boost their local economy.
Under Labour plans, towns and cities such as Sheffield will be asked to draw up plans to improve skills, transport and jobs, with successful bidders being given control of their cash and keeping more receipts from business taxes.
Coun Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield Council, said the city had already seen the benefits devolution can bring, and welcomed the prospect of more money and powers being handed over.
She said: “We believe that cities are best placed to drive growth, which is why England’s eight largest cities have brought forward proposals that would give us the tools we need to develop our local economies and create more jobs and prosperity in our area.
“Currently Britain is one of the most centralised countries in the world. This is leading to bad outcomes with an increasingly centralised economy and growing north south divide – that’s why we’re calling for a fair deal for our cities.
“We have already seen the benefits that devolution can bring to Sheffield. Now that we have some control of skills funding we are able to better match the training offer for young people with the needs of local businesses.
“We have supported young people to find apprenticeships and helped local firms access the skilled employees they need to grow their business.
“We’re proving that a skills system paid for and directed from Whitehall simply cannot understand the needs of the local economy and the needs of local businesses.
“We are already successfully managing longer term investment in transport and infrastructure through our City Region fund.
“We need the Government to roll this out on a much wider scale and give cities the powers they need so we can meet the needs of our local areas.”