More talks planned after Doncaster and Barnsley back Yorkshire devo deal

Talks over the future of devolution in South Yorkshire could be held with the Government in the new year.

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones
Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones is looking at meeting with the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and other South Yorkshire Council leaders early in 2018 after polls in Doncaster and Barnsley backed joining a wider Yorkshire deal rather then a Sheffield City Region one.

In Doncaster, 85 per cent backed a Yorkshire-wide devolution, with a 20.1 per cent turnout.

In Barnsley, the figure was 84.9 per cent backing the Yorkshire-wide deal with a 22.4 per cent turnout.

The results come after the Government had tabled a compromise that could break the devolution deadlock and pave the way for millions of pounds of investment into South Yorkshire.

Mr Javid said Barnsley and Doncaster ‘would be free’ to join a One Yorkshire deal if they consented to the Sheffield City Region agreement first.

Mrs Jones announced the Doncaster result at a full council meeting. Afterwards she said she would be responding to Mr Javid in the next few days.

She said: “The offer has been made and of course we will go forward and meet him.”

She also suggested Sheffield and Rotherham might like to poll their residents in the way Doncaster and Barnsley have.

Mrs Jones had earlier told councillors: “Both Doncaster and Barnsley have been clear that we are willing to consider interim solutions for the Sheffield City Region.”

Coun Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said: “The will of the people is for wider Yorkshire. We’ll work to make that happen and we’re confident that this is the right move for Barnsley.

“Our next step is negotiating a way forward for wider Yorkshire.”

He added he would work to push back any Sheffield City Region mayoral elections until 2020.

They had been planned for next year.

“We would also want to find an alternative deal for those who wish to remain in the Sheffield City Region devolution deal,” he said.