Mayor and South Yorkshire leaders sign off huge £860m stimulus package for county
South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis and the region’s council leaders have rubber-stamped a huge spending stimulus package of nearly £900 million to haul the region back from the Covid-19 crisis.
Following an agreement with the Treasury, the mayor will borrow £500 million against what it receives in gainshare funding. The total figure when combined with other pots totals £860 million.
Mayor Jarvis said this was ‘devolution in action’ and that more power was now in the hands of leaders in South Yorkshire rather than ‘Westminster calling the shots’.
The plans which were first announced nearly two weeks ago, were signed off by council leaders including Sheffield Council leader Bob Johnson and Doncaster mayor Ros Jones.
Around £300 million is planned for investment in places, transport and infrastructure and another £200 million of borrowed money will be invested in jobs and skills from 2022.
These pots of borrowed money will be called the ‘South Yorkshire Renewal Fund and will fund infrastructure projects.
The mayor said he and local leaders were ‘rewriting the rule book’ to meet the ‘seismic economic challenge’ posed by Covid-19.
A further £358 million for South Yorkshire will support the creation of jobs, apprenticeships and helping people secure work.
This pot will also aim to help businesses, revamp high streets, build new homes and improve active travel making it easier to cycle and walk.
Plans also include retrofitting of homes and approving flood defences.
This includes the MCA’s first year’s use of ‘gainshare’, with investment in infrastructure, flood defences, buses and active travel.
Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “Today we invest in South Yorkshire’s future. We will not be blown off course by Covid-19.
“Our plan sends a message of ambition and confidence: that South Yorkshire’s best days lie ahead of us, and that we’re making our region an even better place to live, work and invest.
“We are backing our young people: with a pledge to help them get where they need to be, to help provide the skills they need, and to create the opportunities they want. We are backing our businesses: helping them adapt and thrive after COVID, and attracting new ones to locate and grow here. We are backing our places: with investment in flood defences, new, greener homes and revitalised town centres and high streets.
“Rather than Westminster calling the shots, it means local leaders and I can deliver on the priorities that matter to people in South Yorkshire and improve people’s lives. This is the power of devolution, and we will use it to deliver a new deal for South Yorkshire.”