Devolution of key powers concerning transport investment, better skills and support for business have been promised to metropolitan areas of South Yorkshire in a deal announced today. But crucially this deal does not require the imposition of an ‘Elected Mayor’ against the will of the people as was imposed on the Greater Manchester Authorities in a similar deal earlier this year.

The power to introduce London-style “Oyster” travel cards for public transport and money for the Sheffield-Rotherham tram train project are included in the deal agreed late last night.

South Yorkshire will take responsibility for the majority of spending on improving adult skills and have greater control over support for business, it has emerged.

The South Yorkshire councils will also be given a bigger say over how land owned by the public sector is used.

The deal will be seen as a blow to the aspirations of Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson to take over as Mayor of Southport, St Helens and the Wirral as well as his present city powers.

Campaigners in Sefton Borough opposed to having Joe Anderson imposed on them are cautious. It appears that Conservative Chancellor George Osborne as well as Communities Secretary Eric Pickles are still keen to force through the Metro Mayor proposals regardless of local people’s views on the matter. And they are supported by Labour councillors in Sefton who at the last Council meeting, voted through a policy of over-riding the need for a ballot box determination on this issue.

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