THE devolution saga which has paralysed South Yorkshire politics for over two years could finally be completed by the end of January.
It’s understood that Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis is due to meet minister Robert Jenrick when MPs return after the Christmas break.
Sheffield City Region sources say they are confident the deadlock will be broken following subsequent meetings.
An agreement was reached back in May between the four South Yorkshire councils, mayor Jarvis and government over how devolution should proceed.
Barnsley and Doncaster councils who initially signed the deal in 2015 but switched course in calling to join a potential Yorkshire deal will be allowed to leave the Sheffield City Region deal in order to pursue other arrangements.
Both councils were worried about being locked in to a South Yorkshire deal without having the opportunity to join a potential Yorkshire-wide arrangement for at least 30 years.
Sheffield and Rotherham who are supporters of the current deal will be able to keep their allocated funding and powers should Doncaster and Barnsley leave the deal.
Despite the progress made last year, delays in getting the deal done have been hampered by Brexit.
The deal is worth £900 million over a 30 year term and involves devolved powers such as transport, housing and skills.
An agreement will also mean the mayoral role will have a paid salary. Mr Jarvis currently does not take a wage for his mayoral work.
Mayor Jarvis said: “We are now in touching distance of securing devolution.
“I can reach out and touch the point of where we’ve got the agreement and we’re drawing down the money and we’ve got the powers because we have an economic plan.
“We are so close to a much stronger position in South Yorkshire than we’ve ever been before.
“There are a number of things I’m proud of what we’ve achieved but the big ticket items are close to bearing fruit.
“We’re a matter of weeks away from potentially £250 million for transport infrastructure through the Transforming Cities Fund as well.”
Mr Jarvis, who has been urged by some to run for party leader, did say he feels a ‘responsibility to see devolution through’.
Provided by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.