Chaos around Boris Johnson threatens to derail ‘billions’ of potential investment in South Yorkshire says Mayor Oliver Coppard

South Yorkshire mayor Oliver Coppard has said the chaos in Westminster over the future of Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatens to ‘derail’ mass investment in the region.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 7th July 2022, 4:46 pm

The PM has reluctantly agreed to stand down after 60 members of his government resigned over a range of scandals. But it is thought a new leader may not be in place until September.

The mayor said the ‘calamity gripping the Conservative party’ is a ‘huge distraction’ away from the work ongoing and needed in South Yorkshire.

Mayor Coppard said since his election, there’s been negotiations with the government about investments ‘worth billions of pounds’, leading to the creation of ‘potentially thousands of high paid jobs’ in the industries of the future.

Mayor Oliver Coppard

The Labour mayor also raised concerns around the sacking of Michael Gove, the former levelling up secretary who is responsible for further devolution and monetary arrangements with mayoral combined authorities like South Yorkshire.

The post was vacant but Mr Johnson has managed to appoint Greg Clark to carry on the role. Mayor Coppard congratulated the appointment and said it was vital work continued with the new cabinet minister to improve areas like South Yorkshire.

Mayor Coppard said: “Thousands of people in places like South Yorkshire lent this government their vote – many for the first time – on the basis of their promises to ‘Level Up’ our country; creating wealth and opportunities in places forgotten by Westminster and undermined by years of austerity.

“The current chaos engulfing the government threatens to derail not only those investments but further undermine its own ‘Levelling Up’ agenda.

“In South Yorkshire, like so many regions across the country, we are desperate to drive innovation, promote clean growth, help people into jobs, and deliver the better transport connectivity that our communities need.

“Because right now there are too many families worried about heating their homes and feeding their children. We have businesses fearing for their future. And our bus network is in crisis, with operators threatening to withdraw a third of routes in October.

“The calamity gripping the Conservative Party is in danger of not only undermining our country’s reputation for stable government, but is a huge distraction from the work going on in places like South Yorkshire.

“I am happy to welcome the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Greg Clark, and urge the government to raise their focus outside of Westminster, putting their attention where it belongs: on the jobs, future, health and wealth of the people who live and work in South Yorkshire, and across the country.”