Agenda and minutes

MCA - Local Enterprise Partnership - Thursday, 8th September, 2022 11.00 am

Venue: Virtual

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies


The Chair welcomed attendees to the meeting.


Apologies were noted as above.


Matters Arising / Action Log pdf icon PDF 132 KB


It was noted that all open actions were now closed.


RESOLVED: to note the Action Log and updates.


Declarations of Interest

·         In relation to any agenda item

·         In relation to any activity since the last formal meeting

·         In relation to any forthcoming activity




Notes of Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 336 KB


RESOLVED: That the notes of the meeting held on 7 July 2022 be agreed as a true record.


State of the South Yorkshire Economy pdf icon PDF 218 KB


A report on the State of the South Yorkshire Economy was presented which highlighted the following issues:

·    Inflation, the Ukraine war, and demand outstripping supply had all contributed to increasing prices.

·    Economic inactivity, poverty, employment, and business density were all increasing.

·    Healthy life expectancy and redundancies were decreasing.

·    Employment and job postings were stable.

·    South Yorkshire’s industries were particularly vulnerable due to a heavy reliance on energy use.

·    The typical cost of household essentials was increasing, with the poorest households and ethnic minorities facing the largest decrease in discretionary spending, and the highest rates of deep poverty.

·    Businesses would also be impacted by reductions in household discretionary spending.

·    Most houses in South Yorkshire had poor energy efficiency (rated D or worse)

·    There were 43,000 unemployed and 72,000 households classed as workless in the region.

·    During winter, it was expected that over half of South Yorkshire households would be in fuel poverty (depending on the extent of the Government’s support package).

·    Consumer confidence was at its lowest since 1974 and the Purchasing Managers’ Index had fallen below 50 (which is interpreted as negative).

·    Within the MCA, it had already been seen that promoters had been requesting additional funds due to increasing costs.


A discussion was had around the need for a fast and cohesive approach to providing support across the region, and it was noted that work was taking place across Local Authorities to collate promotion of services such as warm places and foodbanks, and to identify gaps in support.


It was also noted that financial support from government was needed to fully address these issues, and that expected support was currently limited to a cap on energy prices.


The Board offered its full support to all efforts to provide support in the region during the cost-of-living crisis.


RESOLVED: to note the update. 



Levelling Up Fund Bid Update pdf icon PDF 268 KB


An update on the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) Bid was presented, which noted that MCAs were able to bid for £20m to £50m for public transport initiatives under this scheme.


A bid by the MCA in the first round of funding was rejected, and learning was taken from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, who were the only successful MCA in the first round.


A bid had been submitted to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DfLUHC) in the second round of funding, which focussed on 3 pillars:

  • Better Planning, which focussed on improving the quality of information provided to customers, such as real-time journey information and updates.
  • Better Buying, which would seek to implement an integrated ticketing system and reduce journey times.
  • Better Journey, which would implement a pilot Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) Service in 3 areas in the region. DRT would complement existing fixed services and, once software and vehicles are purchased, the running of the service would be relatively low cost and flexible.


The Board noted that a response had not yet been received from DfLUHC, but that work continued on developing an Outline Business Case for the project, which could still be taken forward even if the LUF bid was unsuccessful.


It was noted that Local Authorities were also able to submit bids on a broader range of themes, and that Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield had all been successful in the first round. It was added that Barnsley and Doncaster Councils had made bids to the second round of funding, and that these asks had been aligned with the MCA bid to avoid duplication. 


The Board gave its full support to the bid, and also voiced the support of Peter Kennan, who was not in attendance. 


RESOLVED: to note the update and to continue to support the Bid.


Change of Agenda Order


It was agreed to change the order in which items were considered at the meeting.  Item 8 on the agenda was taken as the next item, followed by item 7 and then item 9.  The minutes reflect the order of the meeting. 



Environmental Sustainability Plan pdf icon PDF 317 KB


A report on the Environmental Sustainability Plan was given. The drivers behind developing this plan were noted as being:

  • A comprehensive approach to the natural environment had been committed to in the Strategic Economic Plan.
  • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had committed to a Local Nature Recovery Strategy – a responsibility which the MCA had taken on responsibility for.
  • The Mayor had committed to developing a South Yorkshire Natural Wildlife Strategy in his manifesto.


The MCA committed to Net Zero, worked with partners to produce the Connected by Water plan, invested in Woodland Creation and now has statutory responsibility for Local Nature Recovery. All these need to be brought together into one cohesive plan.


The outcomes of the Environmental Sustainability Plan were expected to be:

  • To articulate a vision which would be put to the public and stakeholders.
  • To develop conceptual frameworks and evidence bases which would fit with this vision.
  • To develop actions and possible responses.
  • To publish commitment to these actions alongside partners.


A question was raised about how the 2020 Energy Strategy would fit in to the plan. It was noted that this work was still relevant, and would form part of the overall Environmental Plan, but that the key focus was to identify where there were gaps in the MCAs workstreams. 


More detail was requested regarding how the development of the Plan would be resourced. An explanation was given that there is a team in place, and that it was expected that funding would be made available for further posts from the Local Nature Recovery Strategy.


A discussion was had around engaging young people as key stakeholders and ambassadors in the plan, as well as the of utilising existing narratives such as the Outdoor City campaign. It was noted that the Climate Assembly and the Youth Combined Authority would be used as opportunities to secure the involvement of young people.


RESOLVED: to note the update.



Doncaster Sheffield Airport Update


An update on Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) was given, and it was noted that the closure of the airport would risk 2713 jobs, and an annual revenue of £108m.


It was noted that a negotiating team had been formed and extensive work had been undertaken including the commissioning of consultants with aviation expertise. An advisory group of South Yorkshire businesses had also been created, and an impact assessment on closure of the airport commissioned.


Local Authorities had made clear that every option for saving the airport should be considered, and that detailed research had been undertaken in exploring opportunities for alternative ownership of and investment in the Airport, with over 150 organisations having been approached.


The Board welcomed the work of the MCA on this issue, including that it had recently been raised in the House of Commons.


RESOLVED: to note the update.



Chief Executive's Update


The SYMCA Chief Executive presented an update to the Board, noting that:

  • Active engagement was taking place to raise the profile of issues in the region (DSA, cost of living, housing and key investment opportunities) with the new Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • The proposed closure of DSA was a significant piece of work for the MCA
  • Work was ongoing to provide support to residents as a result of changes to the bus network. A successful public consultation had been undertaken, and Leaders have agreed to protect at-risk school buses for 2 years. The government has also announced an extension of at least 3 months to the Bus Recovery Grant
  • The Housing and Infrastructure Board had agreed an open call for £35m of Brownfield Housing funding
  • The Mayor had celebrated 100 days in office, and conducted a successful Question Time event with young people in the region.


RESOLVED: to note the update.