South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority mayor Dan Jarvis set to step down before next election in 2022
South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis has announced he is stepping down before the next election in 2022.
In a video address, Mayor Jarvis said it had been an ‘extraordinary privilege’ to be chosen for the role but the time was right so candidates would be able to put their hat in the ring.
He said that he had managed to get the devolution deal over the line and didn’t think it was possible if he had not stayed on as MP – a decision which irked some of his constituents and even figures within the national Labour party.
Jarvis, who was elected back in 2018, had no salary and no real powers as the four South Yorkshire councils were at loggerheads over how devolution should work.
Sheffield and Rotherham backed a South Yorkshire deal but Doncaster and Barnsley turned U-turned on the arrangement to pursue a ‘Yorkshire-wide’ settlement which the government were not offering.
All parties eventually came together in 2020 and money, resources and powers started to roll in.
Mayor Jarvis said: “It’s an extraordinary privilege to serve as the first South Yorkshire mayor. I’m very proud of all we have achieved, not least because I’m the only Mayor who inherited a situation where the powers and the money weren’t already in place. Amidst the challenge, we’ve also faced Britain’s departure from the EU, terrible flooding and the biggest health crisis in living memory.
“Despite the relentless pressures, we’ve succeeded in establishing a properly functioning mayoral combined authority that’s been able to unlock hundreds of millions of pounds of investment, that will protect and create thousands of jobs; deliver huge investment in our public transport system; get us on track to be carbon net zero by 2040 at the latest; and much, much more besides.
“I ran for mayor because I thought delivering a devolution deal for our region was the most important thing I could achieve from opposition. When I first stepped forward to take on the role, I took the decision to remain as a Member of Parliament. Some people didn’t agree with that, but I said from the beginning that this wasn’t a long-term arrangement. And I meant it.
“I honestly don’t believe we would have made the progress we have, and we certainly wouldn’t have got the devolution deal over the line, if I had not stayed in Westminster. The settlement we negotiated helped take us through the worst of the pandemic and is really starting to deliver for people in South Yorkshire.
“We now need someone to build on our achievements and drive us forward over the next four years. That person will not be me. I won’t be standing as mayor again next May but in the meantime I will continue to give 110 per cent to the role.
“There’s still an awful lot I want to get done and I’ll be working hard to get us into the best possible shape for the future. I’m letting people know my intentions now because I think it’s important that potential candidates are given sufficient notice to step forward. South Yorkshire deserves someone of the highest calibre as their next Mayor, who can provide the leadership required.
“Whoever it is, they will have my support. Whilst I won’t be running as mayor, I will be remaining as the MP for Barnsley Central. Barnsley is my home, and I’m immensely proud to represent the town.
“I am incredibly grateful to all those who’ve helped me as mayor: my family, the leaders of our local authorities, my parliamentary staff and the mayoral team. And above all, the people of South Yorkshire who elected me to do this important job.”