The Government has re-stated its commitment to an elected South Yorkshire mayor on a four-year term, following a question from Barnsley MP and ‘One Yorkshire’ supporter Dan Jarvis in Parliament.
Mr Jarvis said Wakefield leader Peter Box had come out in support of a One Yorkshire devolution deal encompassing the county and it now had the support of 18 of the county’s 20 council leaders.
He asked Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether he agreed that, in addition to finalising the Sheffield City Region deal, “there was now an important conversation to be had with the 18 leaders about a wider Yorkshire deal.”
Mr Javid said: “We will be going ahead with the South Yorkshire deal. We have put forward proposals to allow others to take a different route after that if they choose to do so.”
He was referring to a letter he sent before Christmas offering to let Barnsley and Doncaster join a wider Yorkshire arrangement provided they consented to the South Yorkshire deal, releasing money and powers and electing a mayor on a four-year term.
The response will be a blow to Sir Steve Houghton of Barnsley and Doncaster mayor Ros Jones who were pushing for an appointed, unelected, South Yorkshire mayor on a two-year term, allowing them to join ‘One Yorkshire’ in 2020.
A government spokesman said: “We have always said we would welcome discussions on a widely-supported greater Yorkshire devolution deal provided the Sheffield City Region deal was not threatened.
“The election for the South Yorkshire mayor has received legislative approval by Parliament and will take place in May 2018.”
The SCR deal is set to bring £900m over 30 years and local control over adult skills, planning, transport and infrastructure.