Sheffield City Council: Leader Julie Dore says South Yorkshire has 'missed out' due to devolution delays

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The leader of Sheffield Council says South Yorkshire has ‘missed out’ on opportunities due to delays to devolution.

Councillor Julie Dore along with the leaders of Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley settled on a deal last week - four years after it was initially announced and two years after Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis was elected.

The decision will unlock £900 million over 30 years and give the mayor power over transport, strategic planning and skills across the region.

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Coun Dore said: "I’m really pleased that finally we’ve managed to agree a way forwards to draw down the much needed funding that was hard negotiated.

“It is a shame it has taken so long and it’s clear - if you look at Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester for example - that we’ve missed out. So we have got some catching up to do however, at long last we’re all agreeable about the direction.

“My position has been no different from the start, we had the best deal on the table. We could’ve taken that from start and potentially progressed to a bigger deal.

“Doncaster and Barnsley have finally agreed to take the deal forward. I think their view has particularly changed since the general election. They see another five years of more austerity in real terms, even though the government announced they are going to put money back in they never made a commitment to fill the gap they created over the past six years. They’re not going to replace all the cuts and once you lose that money you lose it over and over again.

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“I think they feel they were left with no other choice than to take what’s on the table. But I believe they could’ve done that two or three years ago.”

Coun Dore said the devolved money and powers will have a big impact on improving lives.

She added: "It’s worth around £1 billion over 30 years and it’s not just for infrastructure and building roads and trains but to invest in people as well. 40 percent of it can be used for revenue funding so we can invest that into upskilling and retraining people.”

A deal will go to public consultation this year.