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DCLG: Further Yorkshire devolution on table, but must follow SCR deal

Further devolution to Yorkshire could be on the table and considered by the government, but only after the delayed Sheffield City Region (SCR) deal has been concluded, PSE has been told.

Earlier this week, a consortium of leaders in the county pledged their colours to pursuing a pan-Yorkshire devolution deal, including two members of the original SCR bid, Barnsley and Doncaster.

When the Yorkshire leaders announced recently that they had formed a ‘Coalition of the Willing’ to pursue a deal for the whole county, the Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry stated: “I want to be very clear about one thing. There will not be a ‘full Yorkshire’ devolution deal. Yorkshire is a fantastic brand. But devolution is about giving control to cities.”

But this week the government’s stance seems to have changed, with a spokesman for the DCLG telling PSE that the government is 100% committed to devolving powers to local areas where there is strong local support for plans to deliver better local services, greater value for money and clear accountability.

“Further devolution in Yorkshire should follow on from the SCR deal and we’ll continue to work with local leaders, the business community and local residents to make this happen,” he added.

“Next year people in SCR will elect a powerful new mayor, with around £1bn of new government investment and a range of new powers. This deal was agreed with Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield in 2015 and they reaffirmed their commitment to it when consenting to parliamentary orders.”

Earlier this year, two lower-tier councils decided to withdraw their applications to become full members of the SCR Combined Authority, which has slowed the region’s devolution process further.

However, this latest stance on Yorkshire devolution could be good news for local leaders, coming in the same week that the LGA called on the government to release its annual devolution report.

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