Devolution is the transfer of power and funding from national to local government and ensures that decisions are made closer to the local people, communities and businesses they affect.
Sheffield Chamber believes the devolution agenda offers one of our biggest opportunities as a region, however we remain frustrated by the singular lack of progress over the last few years.
Whilst a Devolution Deal was signed with Government by the four local authorities in 2016, it has not been implemented because of local political infighting. Sheffield Chamber believes this is inexcusable as we seek to deliver a strong economy and good jobs for everybody.
We have a government that appears committed to the devolution process. Whilst some decisions have to be taken nationally, many are best taken locally in order to align them to the unique needs and strategies of different regions of the country.
Different regions (or Local Enterprise Partnerships) are each developing their own economic strategies for the next 20 years. These different strategies will identify different ways that the regions will survive and prosper in the changing international world, but as a part of the greater UK plc. It will result in different regions having different sector strengths, require different skills within the population, tailored local transport links and focused support for economic growth. This is best done through devolved resources and powers.
There remains a big debate about the correct level to which the country should be subdivided into devolved regions. Generally the Chamber supports the concept of Local Enterprise Partnerships as currently enacted because they properly balance the need for areas with a critical mass (and hence the opportunity to make real local difference) with too many layers of beaurocracy.
The current system of the UK is based on national, regional (LEP) and local Government. The Chamber movement very much mirrors this structure with national (BCC), regional assemblies and local Chambers. We can influence at every level.