Mayor's powers need to be "locked down"

Sheffield business leaders are concerned that the powers of the new elected Mayor still haven't been 'locked down'.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 8:47 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 8:51 am
Richard Wright of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce
Richard Wright of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce

In little over three weeks, voters in South Yorkshire will be asked to choose a new directly-elected Mayor for the Sheffield City region.

But the Mayor’s job description, powers and salary still have not been finalised, prompting concerns from the business community.

Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chamber does remain concerned that the mayoral powers have still not been locked down, nor that this will be submitted to the government for approval until after the election.

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“There were strong pointers in the original devolution document but that is very different to having a signed off job description and the powers they will have.

“We know the mayor will chair the Combined Authority but presumably everything else is up for grabs.”

The region is line for £900m of funding with the elected Mayor but there is still discord between different councils. Out of the 20 Yorkshire authorities, 18 want a One Yorkshire devolution deal but Sheffield and Rotherham want a deal for South Yorkshire.

Mr Wright added: “Sheffield Chamber has always supported the devolution process albeit they would have preferred a deal for the whole city region and not just South Yorkshire but that is maybe something for the future, along with the evaluation of how the wider Yorkshire might work together.”

Meanwhile, the Local Enterprise Partnership Private Sector says the elected Mayor needs to secure the region’s economy by prioritising trade, transport and training.

It has published a business manifesto for the Mayor which highlights a number of challenges.

The main priority is to make Sheffield central to the Northern Powerhouse by connecting businesses and residents to Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham and London with significantly improved transport links.

House building for a growing workforce and investing in the “digital revolution” are also key.