MPs’ first chance to debate devolution bill affecting Sheffield today

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MPs will today have their first chance to debate a new law over devolution – for which the Sheffield City Region has an in-principle deal worth £900million.

The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is to have its second reading in the House of Commons, which is the first time MPs can debate the main principles of the bill, including the issue of directly elected mayors.

If it progresses, it will then proceed to committee and other stages of discussion before becoming law.

Devolution to Sheffield City Region was confirmed two weeks ago after negotiations, when Chancellor George Osborne visited to sign the in-principle deal with local government leaders.

It means that extra powers in areas such as transport and helping businesses to export will be handed over from Whitehall.

Better co-ordination of local roads and locally-run employment programmes are part of the proposals.

The deal also includes £30m of annual funding for the region for 30 years and the introduction of a directly elected mayor from 2017.

However, the bill must first be passed and all nine councils in the city region area must agree the devolution deal before the new arrangements can be put into place.

Leaders also say that there will be consultation with the public, although Mr Osborne told The Star that there was ‘no need’ for a referendum on having an elected mayor.

The population of Sheffield City Region is understood to be around 1.8 million, and the public will have a vote on who they want to be the mayor in an election.

Other areas which are to have devolution deals include Manchester, which was the first to have a deal agreed, and West Yorkshire.

Today it is expected that Communities Secretary Greg Clark will open the debate before the official opposition spokesman responds and then debate is opened to the whole chamber of MPs from all parties.