'˜A South Yorkshire devolution deal is on the table - take it or we fall further behind'

You will no doubt have heard a lot over the past few weeks around the devolution debate and the wider impact the delay on agreeing a way forward is having.

Thursday, 30th November 2017, 11:38 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 2:21 pm
Andrew Denniff, chief executive, Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber.

Possibly, even heard ‘rumours’ of a ‘pause’ by the DWP on the Early Intervention Employment Support Pilot, worth approximately £10million, put on hold we think because of the devolution wrangling.

What you may also be unaware of at this stage is that the government has also ‘paused’ the roll out of the Adult Education Budget for the same reason, although we are not quite sure of the sums involved with this project.

The Sheffield City Region is currently operating on the Local Growth Fund, which was worth £377m between 2015 to 2021, after which nothing is guaranteed. And we believe even this is over-committed by about £7million.

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We were supposed, by this time, to be able to access the devolution money supported by various other schemes, like the ones already mentioned and by loans that would be accessible because the devolution funds are guaranteed for 30 years.

In addition, projects like Transport for the North are seemingly ‘reducing their focus’ on South Yorkshire, clearly under the influence of those regions who have got mayors and devolution deals already in place and being delivered.

The deal is on the table and the longer it is left there the further behind we will fall.

Together we must get the business voice heard, especially during the next few weeks when community polls are taken of residents in Barnsley and Doncaster - remember our businesses do not get a vote.