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Sheffield's Mayor Says The Government Can't "Wash Its Hands" Of South Yorkshire And He'll Ask For More Cash If Needed

3 min read

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis has said he “won’t hesitate” to ask Boris Johnson for more money to cope with Tier 3 rules if he finds the £41m deal he secured is not enough to help the region.

He told PoliticsHome his negotiations with No 10 were “frank” and both sides had driven a hard bargain in arriving at a figure to cope with the spiraling number of coronavirus cases in Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster.

Jarvis accepted £41 million this morning, having gone into the talks asking for more money.

However he said it’s not the “end of the conversation” with No 10 and if he has to, he will ask for more resources after the initial 28 day lockdown period ends.

“The government shouldn’t think they’ve washed their hands and think they’ve sorted South Yorkshire. This conversation will need to continue," he said.

“Of course l asked for more than we eventually settled upon. I genuinely don’t think though that I could have squeezed anymore juice out of the government. The pips had been squeezed in terms of what they were prepared to give. We got what they were prepared to give,” he said.

“I would hope and expect they would say we both drove a hard bargain and the outcome was one not unreasonable to both parties.

“I don’t consider this to be the end of the conversation.”

He said they still have no idea how long they are going to be in Tier 3 for, what criteria was used to place them there, and what they will need to show to leave the toughest level of restrictions.He said they are calling for urgent clarity on this from the government.

“I do think that there needs to be greater granularity of understanding about the criteria – what gets you in, what gets you out (of the tiers),” he said.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who became embroiled in a catastrophic row with the government about the £60 million offered to go into Tier 3, did things “his way”, Jarvis said.

“He’s a great mate of mine and we work very closely together with the metro mayors. He’s done it his way. I’ve done it my way,” he said.

He said after the initial 28 days the four councils in Sheffield City Region could try to make a case to leave the regulations independently.

“Although we’ve gone in as a block together, we won’t necessarily come out together,” he said.

The whole process of negotiations with northern leaders has been a “massive test” for the Chancellor and the levelling up ambition for the north of England, he suggested.

Sheffield City Region accepted £11m for local authorities to support test, trace and isolate and £30 million to help struggling businesses.

Hannah Kitching, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Barnsley Council and who ran for mayor against Jarvis, said: “We need to be shown exactly what the criteria is to be taken into Tier 3 and how you can leave.

“Also if it’s £41m for 4 weeks – great. £41m for six months suddenly looks very different, especially when considered across all four authorities.”

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