South Yorkshire and Leeds City Region are two of seven sub-regions in England that will seal their commitment to boost economic prosperity, in recognition they can each achieve more than the sum of their parts - in the first set of Multi-Area Agreements (MAAs) signed today.
The areas have stepped forward to develop their own bespoke MAAs to increase the total number of homes, including affordable homes, in South Yorkshire and Leeds City Region.
In a contract with Government, the areas will get more freedoms from Whitehall in return for pledging a local, partnership approach to boost economic growth and tackle deprivation and financial inequalities. Freedoms include more flexible resources on housing, pilot transport schemes, employment and skills and choice to refocus national targets to increase support to businesses.
The ambition is to drive growth in local economies and to close the gap with the top performing areas in the country through partnerships that cross local authority boundaries - whether authorities, government agencies such as Jobcentre Plus and the Learning and Skills Council, the private and third sectors. Ultimately this should help boost regional prosperity and people to reach their potential - connecting them to jobs, skills, and affordable homes, regardless of where they live or work.
A purely voluntary initiative, these agreements are the result of a new-style conversation between central and local government, and signal the drive within regions to take collective responsibility to improve prosperity, tackle pockets of deprivation, and create places where people want to live, work and play.