The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has called on the Government to support the region’s ambitious vision for economic recovery, and provide the necessary funding to deliver it.
Leaders of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield and Leeds Councils, as well as the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have co-authored a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlining four major investment propositions totalling £750m.
These proposals are tailored to the strengths and needs of the region, and builds on what the area offers the UK already.
They include a £60m investment into Health Innovation, a £158.9m investment into Digital Tech, a £192m investment into the Transition to Net Zero Carbon Resilient Economy and £340m to focus on Entrepreneurship and programmes to accelerate high-growth potential start-ups.
The letter also warns of the potential for almost 15% unemployment in the region and its economy shrinking by £12bn alone this year and up to 30% by 2021.
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said:
“We offer a practical vision of the role that West Yorkshire can play, firmly at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Through our £1.8 billion devolution deal, the Government has shown that it understands the value of investing in West Yorkshire, and we have a strong track record of making the most of public spending to generate growth for our region’s economy.
“Our plan has identified areas where we can build on our region’s unique strengths to make a real difference and contribute to the leveling-up agenda. We want to create a better, more equal economy for the future and a cleaner, sustainable environment, with better jobs, higher skills and the right infrastructure for our communities.”
Boosting West Yorkshire’s productivity in line with the UK average could add £8.5bn to the UK economy, and create 70,000 new jobs in the low carbon economy. However, as indicated in the letter, inaction will threaten up to 58,000 positions of long-term employment and cost the Exchequer £2.4bn in 2020 alone.