Sheffield Chamber calls for ‘definitive statement’ on Devolution

Sheffield Chamber of Commerce has called for a ‘definitive statement’ on a devolution deal.

Ahead of a meeting of leaders later this month, Richard Wright, Sheffield Chamber’s Executive Director issued the call to avoid further ‘procrastination’ and address the current ‘big void’.

He said: “Earlier this week Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry confirmed what has already been said before – there is no Yorkshire-wide devolution deal on the table.

“It makes it even more frustrating that our region-wide deal cannot be driven through and that the four local authorities in South Yorkshire did not immediately reiterate that they will continue with the already agreed deal covering our area, after Chesterfield and Bassetlaw effectively pulled out.

“It just leaves a big void that is no good for anybody, not least business confidence.

“Is the lack of any message down to some good reason that affects us all or is it just the fact that a regional mayor, with much more control of the money, will mean they might lose some control themselves?

“Is this the age-old question between what is right for the greater good and what is in certain areas’ vested interests? We will probably never know.

“The leaders are meeting, I believe, on July 17, and I think they must come out with a definitive statement of how they will move forward. Procrastination is no good for any of us!

“I don’t want to force anybody to do anything other than make a decision so we can move on.

“Generally, businesses in Sheffield would support the Devolution Deal for South Yorkshire but would also want some reassurance that the region will work together better in the future.

“Personally, I’d like to know who the Labour party nominee for mayor is. Be under no illusion – there will likely be no effective vote for a mayor because whoever the Labour party put forward is almost certain to get it.

“The Chamber produced a manifesto/role description last year of what they would like to see from a mayor. I just hope we can get somebody who meets those requirements.”