South Yorkshire council leaders criticised over deadlocked devolution deal

The failure of the four South Yorkshire councils to sign the devolution deal has come under the spotlight in Sheffield.

Monday, 11th March 2019, 2:50 pm
Updated Monday, 11th March 2019, 2:53 pm
Coun Julie Dore says Labour is committed to continuing to work with the Mayor and other South Yorkshire leaders to conclude the devo deal.

Both the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party criticised the lack of progress with the deal, 10 months after Dan Jarvis became the first Sheffield City Region Mayor.

More than £25 million remains unclaimed in South Yorkshire as the four authorities still have not agreed a devolution deal.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Liberal Democrat leader, raised the issues at a recent full council meeting in Sheffield.

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He said: “The failure of the four authorities to work with each other is costing both our city and the South Yorkshire region dearly.

“This is further compounded by our region now having to bid, in direct competition with other areas, for the Transforming Cities Funding as a result of Coun Julie Dore and her Labour colleagues from Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham not working together in the interest of local people.

“Our region would have automatically received an estimated £155 million from this fund, that is the price we are all paying for Coun Dore’s and her colleagues failure to work together.”

The Green Party also criticised the stalemate. Coun Robert Murphy, who stood against Mr Jarvis in the Mayoral race, said: “Labour is the Chris Grayling of local government. Where Chris signs a contract with companies with no ships, Labour has a Metro Mayor with virtually no powers or money because they can’t sign the devo deal.”

Coun Dore said Labour was committed to continuing to work with the Mayor and other South Yorkshire leaders to conclude the deal.

She said: “Our position has always been that we want to see the investment that has been made in other parts of the country delivered in Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

“Everyone is committed to finding a way to resolve this and clearly there have been different views on devolution. Our view remains that the way forward is to get the deal that was signed in 2015 implemented.

“This is still the only deal on the table from central government, who have provided further clarity in the past few weeks about how they see the way forward.”

Mr Jarvis declined to comment.