Sheffield latest to join government's 'northern powerhouse' devolution push

Sheffield City Region Combined Authority will get transport, planning and skills powers

By Dods Group

02 Oct 2015

Sheffield is set to become the second centre for George Osborne's 'northern powerhouse' devolution agenda with the announcement today of a new city region covering around 2m people.

The new body, which would come in subject to national legislation, would mean Sheffield having a directly elected mayor, as in the new Greater Manchester city region. 

Sheffield City Region Combined Authority will be handed powers over transport, planning and skills, and the region will be able to keep up to £30m a year in extra taxes generated by economic growth.

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The government will also work with the authority on plans to hand Sheffield a single, longer-term "pot" for investment, meaning that it will not have to bid annually for funding from Whitehall departments.

The chancellor said the deal would "change the shape of local government in the region in a way that would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago".

"Manchester is not a one-off – far from it," Osborned added. "In becoming the second great northern city to sign up to managing its own affairs with this ambitious agreement, Sheffield city region is playing a vital part in helping to build the northern powerhouse."

As well as Sheffield, the authority would cover some of Labour's former industrial heartlands including Rotherham, Doncaster and Bassetlaw, and may be seen as another success for Osborne in working with local Labour politicians in spite of opposition from the national party. 

The move will be another boost for a flagship Tory project, following the announcement from Network Rail earlier this week that it is re-starting work on electrification of the Trans-Pennine railway - a key part of the 'northern powerhouse' project.

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