Mayor Ros Jones urges Government to ‘trust us with devolution’ as she bemoans continued bidding process as a ‘waste of energy’

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has criticised the continuous bidding processes councils have to lodge to Government for pots of money.

By George Torr
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 1:09 pm

Doncaster’s elected mayor was speaking on the previously published Government White Paper on Levelling Up the country.

The document sets out a blueprint for further investment in areas outside of London and the South East to attempt to rebalance the economic weight across the nation through investment and skills.

But Mayor Jones said the bidding process, included in the future pots of money which will come through the Levelling Up agenda was a ‘waste of energy’ for officers who spend countless resources and time unknowing if bids are successful.

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Doncaster mayor Ros Jones

This comes following the recent failed bid of £434 million to bring massive changes to the transport network which would have resulted in free fares for under 18s, new bus shelters and a zero emissions fleet.

She said that if central government trusted regions like South Yorkshire to have devolution, then they should be allocated sufficient economic resources to let the region forge its own way.

Outgoing mayor Dan Jarvis said there were ‘questions’ around if the ‘policy intentions match the funding intent’ but that Government had made a strong case for levelling up the country.

Council leaders noted that the policies adopted within the White Paper were in ‘accordance with the combined authority’s Strategic Economic Plan and the key priorities relating to devolution’.

SYMCA bosses are still waiting for further guidance to formalise arrangements for the Local Enterprise Partnership to become a fully fledged part of the combined authority.

Mayor Jones said: “The bidding process is a waste of energy for local authorities and mayoral combined authorities.

“If Government actually trusts us with devolution, they should give us the full set of monies available that we do require to allow us to place it properly.

“We’ve got people wasting many hours in a bidding process and then not to know when or if the funding comes through.

“We at this mayoral combined authority have actually experienced this only recently.”

Mayor Jarvis agreed with Mayor Jones and said he’d raised the issue with Andy Haldane – head of the Government’s Levelling Up task force – during the South Yorkshire Economic Summit, and he would continue to make the point to the Government.