‘No time’ to consult public on Sheffield devolution deal

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Residents will not get the chance to have their say on a proposed devolution deal on the table for Sheffield – because there is ‘no time’ to do so, the council leader has said.

New home rule powers for Sheffield could be agreed within weeks, with the Government hoping to announce before Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement on Wednesday, December 3.

Details of what powers will be transferred from Whitehall to Sheffield are still being finalised, but are expected to include greater control on transport and house-building decisions.

Nigel Slack, a Sheffield democracy campaigner, asked if the public would get a chance to consider and have a say on any deal, that is currently being negotiated, in a series of questions he asked at the latest meeting of Sheffield Council’s cabinet.

Coun Julie Dore, council leader, said: “There’s a simple answer to that – it’s no.

“We just do not have the time to go to the public with any suggestions coming up, because the Government has set the timetable.

“When you think this devolution won’t happen for months, but they want to make a statement on Wednesday, December 3, so it is their deadline and timetable.”

Coun Dore said she hoped there would be opportunities for consultation when the Government and city region had worked out what powers Sheffield could best benefit from.

A report released by a leading economist earlier this year said Sheffield was on the ‘right track’ to take more power from London, because it had the right structures in place to deliver them.

Council leaders hope having extra powers will give more of a local say to how funding can be spent.

A £1 billion deal has been signed for Manchester, and Leeds is also expected to have a deal announced by the autumn statement.