Sheffield Chamber of Commerce - Response to Northern Futures Summit

11th November 2014

Speaking after attending the Northern Futures summit earlier this month, Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber, said: -We welcome the proposals to grant Sheffield and Leeds similar devolved responsibility and funding to that granted to Greater Manchester last week, and which London already has.

"In many ways, this is a statement by the city region that it will grow the economy more quickly if the responsibility and funding is in its own hands rather than central governments. "However, there are some interesting issues arising from this. "The money and powers will be granted to Sheffield City Region to drive economic growth, and not to Sheffield alone, so we cannot do things around political boundaries designed to get votes. When an elected mayor for Sheffield was proposed the Chamber had a luke-warm response because it potentially just inserted another layer of democracy and cost and we couldn't see an advantage. This could change the whole position. A properly-backed, elected mayor for the city region may have a chance at breaking these political glass walls down and could, in partnership with the LEP, promote impartial decisions focused on the regional return. "In fact, we would go further and have a single local authority executive for the region. We must cut down the cost of management and overhead, and maximise the proportion of our funding that goes to delivery. We currently have nine executive teams - presumably with nine waste contracts, nine business support structures and nine facilities contracts etc. Why not one of each? They would be bigger contracts but it is not beyond our ability to ensure they are more cost effective, and that work from them flows down through local deliverers,to really benefit our economy and the businesses in it. "We also need to look very hard at the way contracts are placed for any service. It goes without saying that we believe that delivery should be done by the private sector. We also believe that the successful delivery partner must be judged more on what they achieve and not the bureaucratic box ticking mentality that currently happens when they tender now. I have seen businesses that clearly would deliver real value - and sometimes more than the opposition lose because their tender didn't tick all the boxes and no time was taken to talk to them to explore the proposal. It's just not how the private sector would work - we are much more interested in knowing what the business will deliver and the cost of doing it. "There are many other things I could talk about like transport, skills and infrastructure, but the critical issue is that we build a structure and system that can take the money on offer and turn it into real economic growth and be judged by that. -A system that sees different local authorities expecting their 'allocation' is yesterday's way and it wasn't good enough!"

You might also be interested in

Sheffield Chamber are looking for a new printing contract!

Tue 28th June 2022

Could you help our team by providing specialised printing equipment that we need to produce vital exporting documentation for our members?

St Luke’s Joins Chamber as Patron in 50th Year

Fri 17th June 2022

St Luke’s has joined Sheffield Chamber as a Patron as it celebrates its 50th year.

BCC: Upswing In Trade Must Be Sustained

Mon 13th June 2022

Responding to the latest ONS Trade figures released today, William Bain, Head of Trade Policy, said:

Three days of jobs and advice - The Source and LUFiS stage Sheffield’s biggest careers event for young people

Mon 30th May 2022

A three-day careers event - the biggest in South Yorkshire - to steer young people into training and jobs which will grow their potential and lead to successful careers.