West Yorkshire and Leeds chairs call for rebalancing of economy

West Yorkshire and Leeds chairs call for rebalancing of economy

West Yorkshire Combined Authority chair Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chair Roger Marsh have called on the government to adopt an economic strategy that prioritises a more cohesive, balanced UK economy to help the region to achieve its potential.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority's has published its response to the Treasury Committee's 'Regional Imbalances in the UK' inquiry, highlighting the current imbalance in investment.

The submission states that Yorkshire and The Humber receives among the lowest levels of government spending per head on economic development while transport is short-changed by more than £800m per year.

Cllr Hinchcliffe told West Yorkshire Combined Authority meeting yesterday (1 August) that its response to the inquiry, is an opportunity to show that further devolution will empower local political and business leaders to work together with local communities to set long-term plans.

By combining powers and additional funding, Cllr Hinchcliffe said leaders would be able to take the big decisions affecting their regions, accountable to local people, and that this would be key to overcome feelings of disconnection from Westminster.

She said: "Devolution and this change in approach that we are recommending to the government are key to rebalancing the economy and delivering real, long-term benefits to local people.

"Independent research shows that devolution could deliver economic benefits worth £30 billion a year or £5,400 per person in Yorkshire, which is why we are today reiterating that we need the new Prime Minister to unlock these benefits through an interim devolution deal, creating a pathway to a full One Yorkshire devolution deal in 2022."

Roger Marsh added: "The ambitions that we and the government share for a Northern Powerhouse can only be made a reality if all parts of the North are able to fire on all cylinders.

"This would result in a successful and competitive UK economy, balanced from north to south and from east to west, based upon all areas, including the Leeds City Region, having the powers and government investment to achieve their full potential."