Devolve powers and funding to rebalance UK economy, says LEP chair

Jamie Martin  of Ward Hadaway at the Yorkshire Fastest 50 Awards
Jamie Martin of Ward Hadaway at the Yorkshire Fastest 50 Awards
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PLACES LIKE Leeds can become net contributors to the UK economy if the Government delivers on its promise to devolve powers and funding to city regions, according to a leading Yorkshire businessman.

Speaking at the Yorkshire Fastest 50 awards, Roger Marsh said reindustrialisation of the North will rebalance the UK economy and help pay down the debt mountain facing current and future generations.

Rob Matheson, second left, of Auto Silicone Hoses Ltd with his Yorkshire Fastest 50 Award presented by Bernard Ginns, Roger Marsh and Jamie Martin

Rob Matheson, second left, of Auto Silicone Hoses Ltd with his Yorkshire Fastest 50 Award presented by Bernard Ginns, Roger Marsh and Jamie Martin

The chairman of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said this will need devolution and a significant shift of resources.

He added that the public sector, both locally and nationally, can help the nation achieve its turnaround.

Mr Marsh told the audience: “My plea to Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg is to make good on their coalition agreement pledge to narrow the gap between the South and the North by directing sufficient resources to invest strategically by those who know best in city regions like ours to deliver for the whole country.”

London, the South East and East Anglia are the only net contributors to the UK economy.

The former PwC senior partner was guest speaker at the annual awards celebrating Yorkshire’s fastest-growing companies, organised by law firm Ward Hadaway and The Yorkshire Post.

Around 200 people watched as waste management services company Transwaste was named overall fastest-growing business, proving the old Yorkshire adage that where there’s muck, there’s brass.

Asked how the company achieved such strong growth, Chris Tute, manager, said: “Our recycling rates. We recycle on average 94-95 per cent of our waste. We’re good at recycling.”

The company plans to build more sheds and recycle even more waste, he added. Melton-based Transwaste was the winner of the fastest-growing large business.

The fastest-growing medium business was Auto-Silicone Hoses, which specialises in manufacturing and supplying high performance silicon hoses and other parts to the automotive sector.

Friends Rob Matheson and Andrew Young started selling items on eBay while at school. Today their Mirfield-based business has a turnover of £6.2m and employs 64 people.

Mr Matheson attributed the company’s success to hard work, a good team and perseverance.

MSM Foods, one of the largest importers and distributors of Polish food in central and northern England, was named fastest-growing small business for the third year running.

Rafal Bieniek, general manager, said it was an honour to win the award. Again, he attributed the company’s success to hard work. “Don’t think you’re going to work from 8am to 5pm if you’re going to achieve that,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

The Normanton-based company has opened shops in Belgium and Holland and plans to expand into Scotland and London this year.

The Yorkshire Post and Ward Hadaway launched the awards in 2011. To be eligible, companies must be privately owned rather than publicly listed, have an annual turnover of at least £1m and profitable for each of the previous three years.

Jamie Martin, managing partner at Ward Hadaway, told the audience: “I am sure that every business present at today’s awards would acknowledge that it is the strength, dedication and abilities of their employees and the support of their customers and suppliers that has brought them here today as one of the 50 fastest-growing companies across Yorkshire.”

The Yorkshire Post will publish a special supplement in the Business Tuesday supplement.