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Agenda item

Notice of Motion given by Councillor Joe Otten

That this Council:

 

(a)       notes the growing recognition of "agglomeration economics" and its role in helping London and the South East to grow faster than the north of England;

 

(b)       notes that journey times, by road and rail, between northern cities are slower than comparable journeys in the south east of England or in comparable regions such as the Randstad, Netherlands or Rhein-Ruhr, Germany;

 

(c)        notes that the UK is one of the most centralised states in Europe, with decision-making and investments spending dominated by London and the South-East;

 

(d)       believes that investment in transport connections across the north of England is vital to the goal of rebalancing the economy and bringing more investment and jobs to the north;

 

(e)       believes that devolution of economic levers to city regions and combined authorities is a small but essential part of a more comprehensive devolution agenda including public services, rural areas and devolved assemblies;

 

(f)        welcomes broadly the 'Devo Manc' settlement for Greater Manchester, in particular including the power to regulate the bus network, but has reservations about the elected Mayor model;

 

(g)       calls for the current Administration to back similar devolution of powers to Sheffield City Region;

 

(h)       however, recognises that the domination of local authorities and combined authorities by any one party out of proportion to its share of the vote would inevitably weaken governance, and therefore calls for electoral reform in local government to prevent one-party fiefdoms;

 

(i)         calls for the Government to adopt fiscal rules such that borrowing for investment that brings a direct economic return is to be exempt from a balanced budget rule;

 

(j)         backs the "One North" transport proposals, in particular:

 

(i)            a new 125mph trans-pennine rail route linking Manchester with Leeds, Sheffield and Hull, serving passengers and freight;

 

(ii)        bringing forward commencement of the Sheffield-Leeds section of HS2;

 

(iii)         further investment in the Hope Valley line in addition to the 'northern hub' improvements;

 

(iv)       better highway connectivity between Sheffield and Manchester; and

 

(v)        welcomes the increasing rate of transport investment by Central Government outside of London, and calls for this to be accelerated; and

 

(k)        calls for work towards the adoption of a single Oyster-style card for public transport across the north of England and agrees with the comments of the Chair of the City Region Transport Group that “only London-style franchising gives you London–style simple Oyster ticketing”.

Minutes:

 

Devolution

 

 

 

It was moved by Councillor Joe Otten, seconded by Councillor Ian Auckland, that this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       notes the growing recognition of "agglomeration economics" and its role in helping London and the South East to grow faster than the north of England;

 

(b)       notes that journey times, by road and rail, between northern cities are slower than comparable journeys in the south east of England or in comparable regions such as the Randstad, Netherlands or Rhein-Ruhr, Germany;

 

(c)        notes that the UK is one of the most centralised states in Europe, with decision-making and investments spending dominated by London and the South-East;

 

(d)       believes that investment in transport connections across the north of England is vital to the goal of rebalancing the economy and bringing more investment and jobs to the north;

 

(e)       believes that devolution of economic levers to city regions and combined authorities is a small but essential part of a more comprehensive devolution agenda including public services, rural areas and devolved assemblies;

 

(f)        welcomes broadly the 'Devo Manc' settlement for Greater Manchester, in particular including the power to regulate the bus network, but has reservations about the elected Mayor model;

 

(g)       calls for the current Administration to back similar devolution of powers to Sheffield City Region;

 

(h)       however, recognises that the domination of local authorities and combined authorities by any one party out of proportion to its share of the vote would inevitably weaken governance, and therefore calls for electoral reform in local government to prevent one-party fiefdoms;

 

(i)         calls for the Government to adopt fiscal rules such that borrowing for investment that brings a direct economic return is to be exempt from a balanced budget rule;

 

(j)         backs the "One North" transport proposals, in particular:

 

(i)            a new 125mph trans-pennine rail route linking Manchester with Leeds, Sheffield and Hull, serving passengers and freight;

 

(ii)        bringing forward commencement of the Sheffield-Leeds section of HS2;

 

(iii)         further investment in the Hope Valley line in addition to the 'northern hub' improvements;

 

(iv)       better highway connectivity between Sheffield and Manchester; and

 

(v)        welcomes the increasing rate of transport investment by Central Government outside of London, and calls for this to be accelerated; and

 

(k)        calls for work towards the adoption of a single Oyster-style card for public transport across the north of England and agrees with the comments of the Chair of the City Region Transport Group that “only London-style franchising gives you London–style simple Oyster ticketing”.

 

 

 

Whereupon, it was moved by Councillor Leigh Bramall, seconded by Councillor Steve Wilson, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of all the words after the words “That this Council” and the addition of the following words therefor:-

 

 

 

(a)       believes it should be a top priority to address the economic imbalance in the country and regrets that over the past four years the Government has failed on this issue and the inequality between London and the rest of the country has got worse not better;

 

(b)       regrets that the Government has drastically cut funding to local authorities in the north and the funding available for regional economic development, and believes this has contributed to making the situation worse not better;

 

(c)        welcomes that the Leader of the Council has played a strong role in developing the One North proposals which focus on city centre to city centre connectivity across the north of England;

 

(d)       believes that city centre connectivity is fundamental to the future of the City’s economy and strongly urges the Government to give Sheffield a city centre HS2 station;

 

(e)       regrets that yet again the Government has this week talked about announcements and feasibility studies to address the issue of trans-Pennine connectivity rather than taking action to address it; 

 

(f)        welcomes that Leaders of the Sheffield City Region have led with innovative proposals to secure greater economic powers for Sheffield City Region and calls upon the Government to meet the asks of Sheffield City Region;

 

(g)       notes that the composition of the Combined Authority is the democratically elected Leaders of the Councils and, as a supporter of democracy, accepts that ultimately the people of Sheffield City Region decide who the Leaders of their local authorities are;

 

(h)       believes that Sheffield City Region should be given the same level of powers as Manchester without having to adopt an imposed top-down governance model;

 

(i)         notes that the pace of the negotiations have been determined by the Government’s timetable; and

 

(j)         believes it is important that the Council takes a practical approach to securing power from Central Government and maintains that devolution will not lead to powers transferring from a local level upwards, only from Central Government down, which means that the Council is not giving powers away.

 

 

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment was carried.

 

 

 

It was then moved by Councillor Colin Ross, seconded by Councillor Andrew Sangar, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the addition of a new paragraph (l) as follows:-

 

 

 

(l)         welcomes the forthcoming investment of £170 million on the A57, A628 and A628 Trans-Pennine route, including a bypass for the village of Mottram, and in addition a study into the feasibility of building a Trans-Pennine tunnel to address the strategic gap between Sheffield and Manchester, and which would transform capacity and reduce congestion whilst still preserving the splendour of the Peak District.

 

 

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment was carried.

 

 

 

It was then moved by Councillor Brian Webster, seconded by Councillor Robert Murphy, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of paragraphs (f) to (j) and the addition of new paragraphs (f) to (j) as follows:-

 

 

 

(f)        however, believes that the only way to ensure that devolution is effective and legitimate is to open up the process to public scrutiny and participation;

 

(g)       therefore notes with deep concern that 'devolution deals' for the Sheffield City Region and other areas of England are being rushed through without public input or democratic oversight;

 

(h)       calls upon the Administration to ensure that any ‘devolution deal’ that includes Sheffield is not struck behind closed doors, but is instead subject to input and scrutiny by the public and elected members from the earliest stage;

 

(i)         calls upon the Government to establish a Constitutional Convention to consider the future constitutional structure of the United Kingdom and its constituent nations, regions, and local authorities, in an open and comprehensive way;

 

(j)         supports investment in rail and public transport links and incentivising cycling and walking in the North of England, including:

 

(i)         a new 125mph trans-pennine rail route linking Manchester with Leeds, Sheffield and Hull, serving passengers and freight;

 

(ii)        further investment in the Hope Valley line in addition to the 'northern hub' improvements;

 

(iii)       the Government’s forthcoming Cycling Delivery Plan to deliver ambitious growth in cycle use; and

 

(iv)       welcoming the increasing rate of transport investment by Central Government outside of London, and calls for this to be accelerated; and

 

 

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment was negatived.

 

 

 

Following a Right of Reply by Councillor Joe Otten, the original Motion, as amended, was then put as a Substantive Motion in the following form and carried:-

 

 

 

RESOLVED: That this Council:

 

 

 

(a)       believes it should be a top priority to address the economic imbalance in the country and regrets that over the past four years the Government has failed on this issue and the inequality between London and the rest of the country has got worse not better;

 

(b)       regrets that the Government has drastically cut funding to local authorities in the north and the funding available for regional economic development, and believes this has contributed to making the situation worse not better;

 

(c)       welcomes that the Leader of the Council has played a strong role in developing the One North proposals which focus on city centre to city centre connectivity across the north of England;

 

(d)       believes that city centre connectivity is fundamental to the future of the City’s economy and strongly urges the Government to give Sheffield a city centre HS2 station;

 

(e)       regrets that yet again the Government has this week talked about announcements and feasibility studies to address the issue of trans-Pennine connectivity rather than taking action to address it; 

 

(f)        welcomes that Leaders of the Sheffield City Region have led with innovative proposals to secure greater economic powers for Sheffield City Region and calls upon the Government to meet the asks of Sheffield City Region;

 

(g)       notes that the composition of the Combined Authority is the democratically elected Leaders of the Councils and, as a supporter of democracy, accepts that ultimately the people of Sheffield City Region decide who the Leaders of their local authorities are;

 

(h)       believes that Sheffield City Region should be given the same level of powers as Manchester without having to adopt an imposed top-down governance model;

 

(i)        notes that the pace of the negotiations have been determined by the Government’s timetable;

 

(j)         believes it is important that the Council takes a practical approach to securing power from Central Government and maintains that devolution will not lead to powers transferring from a local level upwards, only from Central Government down, which means that the Council is not giving powers away; and

 

(k)        welcomes the forthcoming investment of £170 million on the A57, A628 and A628 Trans-Pennine route, including a bypass for the village of Mottram, and in addition a study into the feasibility of building a Trans-Pennine tunnel to address the strategic gap between Sheffield and Manchester, and which would transform capacity and reduce congestion whilst still preserving the splendour of the Peak District.

 

 

 

 

(Notes: 1. Councillors Simon Clement-Jones, Richard Shaw, Rob Frost, Joe Otten, Colin Ross, Martin Smith, Penny Baker, Roger Davison, Diana Stimely, Sue Alston, Andrew Sangar, Cliff Woodcraft, Ian Auckland, Steve Ayris, Denise Reaney, David Baker and Vickie Priestley voted for paragraphs (d), (h) and (k) and against paragraphs (a) to (c), (e) to (g), (i) and (j) of the Substantive Motion and asked for this to be recorded.

 

 

 

2. Councillors Jillian Creasy, Robert Murphy, Sarah Jane Smalley and Brian Webster voted for paragraphs (a), (b), (e) and (h) and abstained on paragraphs (c), (d), (f), (g), (i), (j) and (k) of the Substantive Motion and asked for this to be recorded.

 

 

 

3. Councillors Pauline Andrews and Jack Clarkson voted for paragraphs (a) to (c) and (e) to (j) and against paragraphs (d) and (k) of the Substantive Motion and asked for this to be recorded.)