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Devolution deal agreed: South Yorkshire councils conclude long-running feud

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Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis. Photo by Sheffield City Region.

The leaders of the four councils in South Yorkshire have finally agreed a long-mooted devolution deal for the region.

The settlement could see a cash injection for transport, connectivity and infrastructure across Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster.

"We're pleased to announce that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has confirmed he will be working with us to progress devolution," the council leaders and Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis said in a joint statement.

This is a deal for people, in particular young people across Sheffield and South Yorkshire

"Subject to the Sheffield City Region devolution deal being advanced to a positive conclusion, he has also agreed to progress discussions on the role and functions of a Committee of Leaders from across Yorkshire, based on the existing Yorkshire Leaders Board."

The final agreement has been held up for years, as it was suspected that leaders in Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham were holding out for a wider Yorkshire devolution deal.

It's also believed that there was reluctance from the smaller South Yorkshire authorities to join a deal that was perceived as being led by Sheffield, despite all being Labour-controlled councils.

"All South Yorkshire councils will have the opportunity to join any full Yorkshire devolution arrangement if they choose to do so," clarified the joint statement.

A wider Yorkshire deal now looks less likely. A separate devolution deal for West Yorkshire has gained traction in recent months and is likely to be agreed later this year. This may have spurred a final agreement on the South Yorkshire deal.

"This is a deal for people, in particular young people across Sheffield and South Yorkshire, and it will enable us to invest in their skills and equip them to take jobs in growing sectors," said outgoing Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore.

"It's about investing in infrastructure, including transport links, and supporting local businesses to become good employers and provide jobs. But at the heart of all this is investment in the future for people who live, work and learn in Sheffield."

Sam Gregory

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It's understood that Barnsley Council were reluctant to sign up to a Sheffield-led deal. Photo by Badics (Wikimedia Commons).
by Sam Gregory (he/him)

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