Devolution deal for Doncaster welcomed

Ros Jones, Labour
Ros Jones, Labour

A devolution deal for Doncaster - shifting powers over transport, skills, business and housing from Whitehall - has been welcomed in the town.

Oyster-style smart ticketing could be introduced on bus services and decisions about public sector land will be taken between both local councils and Government,

Work to speed up house building and encourage more businesses to export will also take place.

Further details about the devolution programme for the Sheffield City Region are due to be announced later today by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

He said: “Gone are the days of central government controlling all local decisions, and I’m proud to be at the forefront of these forward-thinking changes.”

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones said: “I welcome this news as devolution and decentralisation is a positive step forward as it will give decision-makers across the Sheffield City Region greater control over our future economy, and enable us to target spend in line with our local priorities.

“We’ll be looking at improving skills, housing and transport and boosting local businesses.

“Doncaster and the Sheffield City Region are well placed to help rebalance the national economy particularly after securing two national training colleges. The High Speed Rail College due to open its doors in Doncaster in 2017 and the National College for Advanced Manufacturing in Sheffield will put the region at heart of these important growth sectors.

“Today’s announcement is another building block which sees our region at the forefront of plans to create an economic powerhouse in the north.”

The combined authorities in the region will take the powers from Government.

Other areas covered by the deal include:

*Sheffield City Region will lead discussions with Highways Agency and Network Rail, ensuring that investment decisions are in line with what local people need.

*The deal will make the most of public sector land in the city region, owned both by councils and Government. Decisions about which assets to sell, and how to regenerate some sites, will be taken together between local and national government to get the best deal for taxpayers and the local economy.

*The Sheffield City Region will move towards a more devolved model of business support, with enterprise spending coming directly into the City Region’s control.