A PUBLIC consultation on Barnsley’s inclusion in a South Yorkshire-wide devolution deal has been hailed as a ‘significant step’ in the right direction to unlocking millions in funding for the town.

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, who is also the MP for Barnsley Central, met with Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on Monday.

The meeting came about after the region’s four council bosses agreed to proceed with the public consultation on South Yorkshire’s devolution - an interim measure according to Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton - which could eventually lead to the town defecting to a Yorkshire-wide devolution in the future.

The consultation will launch on Monday, running for six weeks, it has been announced.

In a joint statement, Dan and Mr Jenrick said: “We are delighted to announce that the Sheffield City Region has agreed to proceed with the implementation of the devolution deal for South Yorkshire.

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“The agreement to launch the required consultation represents a significant step forwards.

“Subject to its completion and the parliamentary process, the people of South Yorkshire will be able to benefit from the deal this year.

“We also look forward to the progression of discussions over the coming months on the role and functions of a committee of leaders from across Yorkshire.

“Through continued collaboration we will support more positive economic outcomes for people right across the historic county.”

The devolution deal brings with it £30m a year in additional funding for economic growth, as well as power over the adult education budget totalling £35m each year.

It also means additional powers in areas including transport, skills and governance.

Members of the public will now be asked their views on bringing increased powers and resources to the region, and putting more decision-making responsibilities in the hands of local leaders.

After agreeing the consultation, Sir Steve told the Chronicle: “This represents a significant, positive step forward in securing additional powers and resources for our region.

“Something has finally been achieved devolution-wise.

“Following discussions with other South Yorkshire leaders, councils will now consult on the proposed deal.

“This deal is exactly the same financial deal as originally proposed, however this will now be shared between the four South Yorkshire councils instead of the nine that were originally envisaged.

“However long our involvement lasts in the South Yorkshire deal, it allows us to access our share of £30m per year.

“I must emphasise that Barnsley still ultimately wants the ‘One Yorkshire’ deal.

“The achievement of such a framework is a major step towards achieving a full Yorkshire-wide devolution deal.”

Mr Jenrick added: “I want to usher in a new era of devolution as we level up all parts of the country.

“This represents a major step towards providing the people of South Yorkshire with additional funding to bring better jobs, transport and opportunities to the region.”