Confusion over future of South Yorkshire devolution deal

SHEFFIELD IS still refusing to endorse the proposed devolution deal for South Yorkshire despite its three neighbouring authorities pressing ahead.

Wednesday, 24th February 2016, 04:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th February 2016, 13:55 pm
George Osborne with Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore and Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton at last year's signing ceremony

Doncaster and Rotherham councillors will be asked to agree the deal - which will see the election of a new Sheffield City Region mayor in 2017 - at meetings next week.

And the agreement is due to go in front of councillors in Barnsley tomorrow.

But Sheffield City Council, which has raised a string of concerns about the terms reached with Chancellor George Osborne last year, was yesterday unable to confirm whether it will follow suit amid suggestions it is continuing discussions.

The confusion raises the prospect of Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham councillors being asked to discuss and agree the terms of a deal where details could yet change.

The draft devolution deal, which could see the area receive an extra £30 million of funding every year, was agreed in September with Mr Osborne who travelled to South Yorkshire for a signing ceremony alongside the area’s council leaders.

But Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore later called for changes to the deal, expressing concern about the powers the new mayor would have to overule council leaders and the status of neighbouring authorities in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

It appeared a major stumbling block had been removed when Government officials suggested council leaders would have the power to amend the mayor’s powers once the deal had been agreed.