Hi Susan, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Firstly, tell us about the role of the Sheffield City Region in the devolution deal?
The SCR LEP and Combined Authority led on the detailed negotiations with the Government. The SCR submitted (along with 38 other LEPs) a submission to HMG on the 4th September with a proposition for further devolution which built on our city deal, growth deals and first devolution agreements.
When will the region start to notice the impact of increased government spending?
We already have a £350m programme of investment secured through the previous deals.
The deal if ratified by the local councils will see the first tranche of additional resources coming into the city region in 16/17. In addition to the localisation of business rate growth which will enable the city region to benefit directly from the growth in businesses within the city region.
If created, how significant will the housing investment fund be for the construction sector in Sheffield?
This is a deal for the whole city region and we would expect the construction sector across the city region to benefit from new capital investment programmes, including any new housing investment fund. The city region has a predominance of smaller scale house builders and construction firms – it will be critical that we work with those firms to make sure they are ready to benefit from any new opportunities that arise. This is something that the city region’s Housing Executive Board have flagged as a priority.
What are you currently planning to help local businesses benefit from HS2?
We are working with HS2 to ensure that local businesses are aware of the supply chain opportunities that will arise out of the HS2 programme. This involves media and communications work to promote relevant opportunities. The city region’s new Growth Hub will also be able to support businesses looking to position themselves as potential suppliers and link them into any specialist support available. The new National College for High Speed Rail which has been awarded up to £40m of national resources as well as a local £6m contribution from the city region will also have a huge impact on ensuring that businesses have access to the highly skilled workforce and innovative research and development programmes.
What is the importance of North England Build for the construction industry in Sheffield?
It is chance to showcase the opportunities that are in the Sheffield City Region, to meet key people in the industry, build relationships and awareness of the Sheffield City Region being a great place to, live, work and do business.