There are some exciting and hugely important decisions to make over the next few weeks in this city region.
The choices we make will affect our own futures for a long time ahead.
This is not about the Referendum, this is more local.
It is about how we run our region under devolution.
And it is just as important.
We are being asked to put our views on the powers we are set to gain under devolution and how we will work together to use them.
The deal was the first to be negotiated and won under this Government in England and gives the region £1.3billion over the next 30 years to spend as we see fit.
It is a huge achievement.
And we have the responsibility to ensure we create jobs and improve our standard of living. We have a clear vision and that is to create 70,000 jobs by 2025.
The Sheffield City Region is the public-private partnership which has been established to create those jobs and prosperity for the 1.8million people who live here, and the 52,000 businesses which operate here.
The idea of working as a region had been developing over many years. In 2010 the ‘Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’ was established, bringing together nine local authorities and a board of businesses from across the region.
It became clear that to be effective, we needed greater powers and control. We needed control over the way we spend our money, and the choices we make about our education, housing and even where the buses run. We had ambitious plans and we wanted to get on with them!
So in 2015 a devolution deal was negotiated and ratified in March this year.
Part of that deal means that we will have a directly elected mayor for the Sheffield City Region.
Elections will take place next year, but now is the time for you to say what powers the mayor and locally elected leaders should have.
If you live or work here, or travel here to shop or for leisure, the way our region is run affects you.
The region has highly skilled manufacturing jobs, leading universities, stunning countryside, a great quality of life, and a fantastic position at the heart of the UK.
We play a major role in the influential Northern Powerhouse group of city regions.
We could kick start the next industrial revolution!
When I was appointed to the role of chair of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) earlier this year I was delighted and honoured. I realised that this was a chance to really make a difference to an area which has played a huge part in my life.
I hope you agree with me that this region has immense potential to prosper by running its own affairs.
We are running a six-week consultation exercise, starting this Friday, July 1, when we will be out on the street urging you to make your views known; we will be engaging with your views online, and we will be holding a series of public meetings across the region.
You will be asked to give your opinions by going to an online link live from July 1. It’s quick, it’s simple, and we will come back and tell you the results.
When we have your views we will work with Ipsos Mori, a leading polling and consultation organisation, to analyse and report back to Government.
The Sheffield City Region is a great to live, and a great place to work. Please help us make it a great place for the future. Make sure you tell us your views – it will only take a few minutes.
Sir Nigel Knowles
See www.sheffieldcityregiondevolution.org.uk/my-area/for dates and venues of public meetings.
SOME OF THE NEW OPPORTUNITIES UNDER DEVOLUTION:
Better transport locally and better links to other parts of the country
The right sort of training to help local people get into work and businesses to grow
Major regeneration schemes being completed more quickly
More private sector investment brought in
More help for export businesses
World-class support to get business moving