Chancellor George Osborne will say it is time for major cities like Sheffield to ‘take control of their own affairs’ while promising radical devolution to grow local economies today.
Making his first major speech of the new Parliament, Mr Osborne is to say that plans under the Cities Devolution Bill will help to implement the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ vision he has previously outlined as a way to rebalance the UK economy.
His speech will explain that cities will be given power over local transport, housing, planning, policing and public health.
“The old model of trying to run everything in our country from the centre of London is broken,” Mr Osborne is expected to say.
“It’s led to an unbalanced economy.
“It’s made people feel remote from the decisions that affect their lives. It’s not good for our prosperity or our democracy.”
Addressing cities outside London, he is to add: “I say to these cities: it is time for you to take control of your own affairs.”
Last year a devolution deal for Sheffield - shifting powers over transport, skills, business and housing from Whitehall - was signed.
Powers are to include those over an adult skills budget of about £200m, which pays for young people and adults to get the training they need to get into work and greater influence over future transport investments, pushing forward the £60 milion tram train between Sheffield and Rotherham.
A business growth hub will be created and Sheffield City Region will be able to make better use of surplus public sector land as well as work with Government to speed up house building.
The leader of Sheffield Council, Julie Dore, is also one of 10 city leaders to have launched a ‘devolution declaration’ today calling on all parties in the new Parliament to ensure transferring decision-making and control over public spending from Whitehall to cities remains a priority.
The group, known as the Core Cities, will point to research suggesting that devolution could add £222 billion and more than one million jobs to the UK economy by 2030.
A letter from the Core Cities leaders says: “With more freedom to invest in infrastructure, skills, trade and innovation, cities across the UK will boost their nation’s economies.
“Devolution will deliver better public services, recognising the different needs of communities and managing reductions in public spending in a joined up way.”
Today The Star is asking readers what powers they would like to see the Sheffield region have control over instead of the Government - from more of a say on planning applications to keeping more cash from business rates.
Would you like the city to have an elected mayor - as Mr Osborne has suggested in the past?