How devolution deal benefits your Sheffield family - by Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at the AMRC training centre to sign the devolution deal for Sheffield. Picture: Andrew Roe
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at the AMRC training centre to sign the devolution deal for Sheffield. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Just three weeks ago Sheffield City Region came to the Government with a bold and ambitious devolution bid. I’m proud to say that today we have made it a reality - writes Chancellor George Osborne.

Sheffield City Region submitted a plan to us setting out the powers and responsibilities they want to see transferred from Westminster to your area.

They said they wanted more decisions about how your tax is spent to be made locally. And now you are forging ahead in the Northern Powerhouse.

We listened because we know that money spent closer to people is a powerful catalyst for change, freeing local people to take control over the decisions that affect them and their communities and ending the broken model of running everything out of London.

Sheffield and South Yorkshire’s achievement today is no small task.

By working closely with the government, your civic leaders have secured a breakthrough deal granting you your own directly elected mayor for the first time with far reaching powers from planning to transport to employment support.

There is no better proof that our plan to close the economic gap between the North and South is working, with this deal giving a huge boost to plans to put local people in the driving seat which is crucial to help build a more balanced, healthy economy.

So how exactly does today’s deal benefit you and your family?

In 2017 the people of Sheffield and South Yorkshire will elect their first ever Sheffield City Region Mayor, giving this accountable person a powerful new voice in the country.

This Mayor will oversee a whole host of powers from transport budgets to growth to planning.

For transport this means rolling out a simple Oyster card smart ticketing system for the area with new responsibility for bus services, so that public transport joins up better and it’s easy to hop between trains, trams and busses without buying a new ticket for each.

For jobs and businesses, it means control of a new £30 million pot of money per year to fund projects that will unlock growth across the region creating new jobs as well as joint responsibility with the government to design new employment support for harder to help claimants.

Already, the region has a world class reputation for advanced manufacturing and engineering and this deal is set to strengthen its position in this area even further alongside support we will offer for the Advanced Manufacturing park in South Yorkshire.

Today’s ground-breaking deal will overhaul local government in Sheffield and South Yorkshire in a way that would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago.

This also is at the heart of the government’s plans to build a Northern Powerhouse, and follows a deal Greater Manchester secured last year to take back control over its own affairs.

Our next challenge is to build on this momentum from securing deals with two great Northern Cities, Greater Manchester and Sheffield, by looking to secure agreements with our other great English cities.

As I have long said, our objective is to allow the North to pool its strengths and become greater than the sum of its parts.

We must do this by firing up every corner of the Northern economy - from transport to science to culture - to help end the decades-old gap between the North and the South.

We believe in giving power to working people, letting you decide on the issues that affect you and your family and this news in Sheffield and South Yorkshire today is set to do just that.