Business leaders gathered for an event to mark the stainless steel centenary – where Nick Clegg revealed the Government is changing how it works with big cities to help improve economic growth.
During the event at Cutlers’ Hall last night, Mr Clegg revealed he will head a new Government committee to work with Britain’s biggest cities including Sheffield.
The Sheffield Hallam MP will chair the body, which involves several other cabinet ministers, and will give large cities direct access to the highest level of Government.
The committee is being set up as cities receive devolved powers and funding – including £500 million allocated to Sheffield City Region for infrastructure projects.
During his speech, Mr Clegg also praised Sheffield’s industries and spoke of the importance of protecting the city as a trading name.
Speaking about his new committee, which also involves the chancellor, business, transport and education secretaries, Mr Clegg said: “If you want to give more power back locally, you have to change what happens at the centre.”
He said the committee would be a central point of contact for cities embarking on major projects to ‘drive economic growth’ instead of them having to speak to several Government departments, which causes delays.
Mr Clegg said the Government wanted to allow Sheffield and other large cities to ‘realise their global ambitions’ by giving them ‘freedom and power back to unleash the enterprise and drive which made them so great in the past’.
Paying tribute to Harry Brearley, who invented stainless steel 100 years ago, he added: “Harry Brearley was as much a product of Sheffield as the stainless steel he created. His determination to succeed and commitment to realise his city’s global ambitions lives on. We can still see that excellence, drive and innovation in Sheffield’s entrepreneurs today.”
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