Dan Jarvis on devolution deadlock: South Yorkshire council leaders 'all need to compromise'

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis has said the four South Yorkshire council leaders all need to compromise before devolved cash can flow through the region.

Thursday, 31st May 2018, 5:21 pm
Updated Friday, 1st June 2018, 1:07 pm
Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis speaking from his office on Broad Street West. Picture: Andy Roe/The Star/Doncaster Free Press

Council leaders from Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster all signed a deal with the then Chancellor George Osborne for devolved powers and £900 million in cash over 30 years.

But Doncaster and Barnsley announced they wanted to ditch the deal on offer and support a wider Yorkshire deal - something which currently isn't on offer by the Government.

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis. Picture: Andy Roe/The Star/Doncaster Free Press

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The four leaders have been at deadlock and since Mr Jarvis was elected as the region's mayor, it's his job to get the deal over the line.

After three weeks in the job, the regional mayor, who is also Barnsley Central MP until the next election, said he has seen 'huge potential' for the county to kick on.

But he's been returned in the role with no real powers, no money from central Government and only has real control over the region's buses.

He said he's still 'trying to get his head around the job' getting out and see as much as the region as possible and said a meeting with the leaders was 'very productive'.

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis at his office on Broad Street West. Picture: Andy Roe/The Star/Doncaster Free Press

The former Paratrooper added he was 'very impatient' and was not going to 'accept the status quo'. He's gone on record saying he wants a wider Yorkshire deal in place by 2020.

"We're making progress. I can't put a time frame on it but I think devolution is a process, it's not an event," he said.

"That process has begun but obviously I want to reach a consensus here in South Yorkshire. We had a very productive meeting, where we discussed how we're going to do that and it is for me to take that forward."

Mr Jarvis said he is in 'daily contact' with the four council leaders and has also met leaders of the non-constituent members of the Sheffield City Region in Bolsover, Bassetlaw, Chesterfield, North East Derbyshire and Derbyshire Dales.

He added he's 'in the process' of securing 'strong links' with the Government which is 'aided' by his role as an MP.

But there's been no real movement. The county is still in deadlock and is missing out on devolved cash from central Government.

Jarvis said 'terms and conditions' was the real 'sticking point' and admitted the region needs to catch up.

"The problem is, you've got five leaders and you need five signatures required and they all come to this in a slightly different perspective. It's about giving everybody something of what they want but accepting in life and in politics, you don't get all of what you want," he said.

"The stumbling block is terms and conditions in the sense we're all agreed on the potential benefits of working together and all of us understand the benefits of drawing down the money but it's just in the way we do that.

"I'm not prepared to accept the status quo of not having an agreement and I'm working around the clock to try and reach an agreement.

"There's going to have to be a bit of compromise across the five parties and move this forward and it's in all of our interests to the people who we represent to make sure that happens.

"I've been elected with a very clear mandate to get on with a process that sees that deal signed and agreed in the first instance but also continues the process of looking at whether there's a better deal in place and that's the wider Yorkshire deal.

"We can do it, and we must do it."