Barnsley and Doncaster councils refused to back a Sheffield city region devolution deal at a crunch meeting of all four south Yorkshire leaders on Monday morning (18 September).
However, the councils have not yet formally acknowledged that they have backed out of the deal.
Sheffield Town Hall, Yorkshire
A statement from the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Combined Authority read: ‘At a meeting this morning, the leaders of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield councils could not reach agreement on the recommendation put before the meeting, which was to initiate public consultation on mayoral powers relating to devolution.
‘However, as things stand, a mayoral election is still set to go ahead in May 2018 to elect a mayor for the combined authority.’
A spokeswoman for Barnsley MBC said that the council was backing a Yorkshire-wide deal.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, the mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, claimed that when the South Yorkshire devolution deal was signed last year the Government was fully aware that it was meant to cover a wider footprint than four authorities.
Ms Jones added: ‘The widest possible footprint will be better than the four south Yorkshire authorities.’
The leader of Barnsley’s independent group, who was also formerly on the SCR combined authority’s audit committee, Phillip Birkinshaw, said he supported a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal.
He said: ‘The whole of Yorkshire has got far greater pulling power and more sway with central government than Sheffield as a city region would have.
‘I think Yorkshire authorities would have a far stronger representation as one region.’
This article first appeared on themj.co.uk.