Residents question if Sheffield should get more control - but leader says there is proof powers work

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Sheffield residents have questioned whether the city should be given more powes from Whitehall as the big devolution debate was reignited.

Chancellor George Osborne said it was time for major cities to ‘take control of their own affairs’ in his first major speech of the new Parliament, outlining plans under the Cities Devolution Bill to create a so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse.’

Last year a devolution deal for Sheffield - shifting powers over transport, skills, business and housing from Whitehall - was signed.

But when Star readers were asked what more powers they would like to see devolved locally, the main answer was none.

“None at all, it would only give them more money to waste”, said one reader.

“I wouldn’t trust them with my weekly shopping.”

Another added: “I hope we’re given a democratic vote and this is not another EU diktat to be implemented at Westminster.”

And a third said: “They’ve been trying to build a shop in the City for more years than i care to remember.”

But Coun Julie Dore, council leader, said: “Where we have been given powers we need to put in place policies that work for Sheffield, we have proven we use these effectively. We are on the way to providing 4,000 new apprenticeships for young people in our city, for example.

“In Sheffield we have been fighting for an increase in devolved powers for years.

“We want further powers to control the skills system in our city, and get more people into jobs. We want the power to control our transport infrastructure, and build the links we need. The focus of this work should be about better outcomes - a stronger city economy with dynamic, growing businesses but also has to be about better public services - shaping education, health and social care, housing and employment services that are critical to the people and the businesses in the city.