The incoming mayor of the Sheffield City Region will not be able to stop councils from joining a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal, according to documents seen by LGC.
Draft text over a compromise agreement has been sent by the communities secretary Sajid Javid to the leaders of Barnsley MBC, Sheffield City Council, Rotherham MBC, and the mayor of Doncaster MBC.
If a ”One Yorkshire deal agreement comes forward and is concluded and agreed by all the councils concerned and by Government, all or any of the South Yorkshire councils which wish to do so will be free to join that deal if appropriate”, the draft agreement said.
Barnsley and Doncaster would prefer to leave the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority in favour of a Yorkshire wide deal but will not be able to do so until 2022, should the government’s offer be accepted.
That is because the the draft agreement states the mayor, due to be elected this May, “will not refuse any consent necessary for one or more, of the South Yorkshire councils to join that deal providing that their joining the deal has effect from the end of the current mayoral term”.
A December community poll in both Barnsley and Doncaster found that 85% of respondents backed a wider Yorkshire deal, as opposed to a Sheffield City Region deal. Turnout for the poll averaged 21%.
“We believe this will enable devolution at scale, and in a post-Brexit Britain give our economies, people and businesses the best chance for productivity and inclusive growth,” Barnsley leader Sir Stephen Houghton (Lab) and Doncaster mayor Ros Jones (Lab) wrote in a letter to Mr Javid before Christmas.
The new proposal from the communities secretary sets out that from 7 May 2018 - the day after the South Yorkshire mayoral election - Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield councils should “undertake all the steps for which they are responsible” to implement the current devolution agreement.
The agreement stipulates that the new mayor for south Yorkshire must agree to any council joining the ’One Yorkshire deal’ and “maintain the integration of transport across South Yorkshire”.