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Sheffield stranded as met leader backs Yorkshire-wide devo deal

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The leader of Wakefield MDC has announced his “full support” for a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal - leaving Sheffield City Council as the only local authority to have not publicly backed the proposal.

Peter Box (Lab) had previously stayed silent on the idea of joining a Yorkshire-wide deal and had not attended any of the meetings organised by local leaders to discuss.

However, he said had shifted his position to ensure “the best deal” for Wakefield.

Peter Box

Peter Box

Peter Box

Cllr Box said: “Over the last few weeks it’s become apparent that the government will use any difference between us over the best model of delivery as a reason for not devolving any of the powers and resources that we need to deliver our shared ambitions.

“That cannot and must not be allowed to happen.”

This comes after the leader of Rotherham MBC, which is part of the Sheffield City Region, softened his stance over a region-wide deal

Barnsley and Doncaster MBCs, also in the Sheffield City Region, would prefer a Yorkshire-wide deal. Only Sheffield City Council remains steadfast in its support for the more localised deal.

Housing and communities secretary Sajid Javid has previously signalled that councils may be able to join a ‘One Yorkshire’ deal - but not until 2022 when the first term of the Sheffield City Region mayor, due to be elected in May, ends.

That election is set to cost the region about £1m and yet the mayor will have very few demonstrable powers. As a result Barnsley and Doncaster have proposed delaying the election and putting interim arrangements in place so negotiations over a Yorkshire-wide deal can be conducted.

Cllr Box said he hoped the government would avoid the “wholly unnecessary cost” of a May mayoral election, but added that an interim mayor in Sheffield was still needed.

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