THE devolution deal secured by South Yorkshire will help the area rediscover the economic success of the past, according to a leading figure in the region.
Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, argued the agreement would lead to better decision making and value for money.
The deal agreed with Chancellor George Osborne last year has already led to extra money for the region and next year will see the election of a new mayor who will chair the existing combined authority of local council leaders.
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Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, said: “We’re asking residents and businesses to have their say on our proposed deal with Government. We know that business growth and better job opportunities are issues that people really care about and that’s why we’re encouraging as many people as possible to take part.”
Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, FREng HonFRAeS. Executive Dean, AMRC with Boeing/Nuclear AMRC, University of Sheffield, said: “The devolution deal gives the region much more autonomy and the ability to pursue major initiatives such as the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, which are needed to grow our economy. By encouraging inward investment we will be able to build strong regional supply chain relationships creating high skilled and well paid jobs in the region.”
Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones said: “Taking everything into account, I believe this is the best decision for Doncaster. We have ambitious and exciting plans for the future. Being able to access this money and make more decisions locally, rather than in London, will help businesses grow and thrive and help us deliver these plans creating more jobs, new housing and better transport for local people. Devolution is about us getting more power down from national government and not taking it away from local authorities.’
Dan Fell, CEO, Doncaster Chamber said: “Businesses across the region are excited about the potential of the Northern Powerhouse. The concept of a thriving Northern economy with vastly improved infrastructure, improved skills and localised decision-making is one that businesses can easily buy into. The Devolution Deal is an important stepping stone to realising the Sheffield City Region’s role in the Northern Powerhouse as it provides some of the resource and responsibilities needed to create a step change in our economic performance.
Councillor John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “We are fully engaged in this devolution process. We believe from our first-hand experience the deal is good for our town and the whole Sheffield City Region. Our involvement with the Sheffield City Region has already brought real benefits to Chesterfield and we look forward to working collectively on improving the living standards and opportunities for people in the Sheffield City Region. I would encourage Chesterfield residents to read the information on the public consultation website and then give their comments during the consultation process.”
Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield, the town’s business marketing campaign, said: “I would urge all local businesses to take part in the consultation. Chesterfield’s position within the Sheffield City Region means we do a lot of business with neighbouring towns and cities in the region. Devolution will give the town a seat at a more influential ‘local’ table not to mention more control over our own financial affairs. It could also help bring potential funding to the area further boosting our ambitious plans for growth and development in the area over the next 10 years.”
Cllr Chris Read, the Leader of Rotherham Borough Council, said: “This proposed deal puts Rotherham on the national stage – prioritising jobs, housing and infrastructure. It is a measure of our ambition that we want to be one of the first places in the country to be making these kinds of decisions for ourselves rather than depending on London. This consultation is an important opportunity for members of the public to find out more about what’s on the table, and to have their say about what we do for ourselves and what we leave to national government in the future. I encourage people to take part and look forward to hearing what businesses and the wider community have to say.”
James Newman, former Chairman of Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “The LEP’s success means that local business leaders now have an increasingly important part to play in creating stronger local economic growth in Sheffield City Region. This deal enables our local political and business leaders to take decision-making to the next level, making bigger and better local decisions over skills, business growth and infrastructure. I encourage anyone with an interest in expanding their businesses and creating job opportunities for local people to show their support for the deal by visiting our consultation website.”
Councillor Simon Greaves, leader of Bassetlaw District Council, said: “Devolution offers real benefits for Bassetlaw and we have played an active role in securing this deal. It’s good for our towns, it’s good for our villages and it’s good for the whole Sheffield City Region. The Sheffield City Region has a huge impact on Bassetlaw’s economy. It is essential that we continue to work with our partners across the City Region to maximise the benefits for local people and local businesses. Working with the Sheffield City Region will allow us to enable growth and investment, improve our skills base and pursue jobs and opportunities that can improve living standards for our residents. Information on the deal and what it means for Bassetlaw and the Sheffield City Region on the whole is available on the public consultation website. I urge people to get involved and give us their views.”