ONE of Yorkshire’s biggest philanthropists has urged the region’s politicians to grow up and work together for the greater good of God’s Own Country.
Speaking at The Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards, Terry Bramall said Yorkshire “is yearning for a great idea” in the wake of the Scottish referendum and the Chancellor’s vision for a Northern Powerhouse.
He told the audience: “I hope that the politicians can actually put their differences aside and recognise the opportunity but they have got to get mature, they have got to realise that we can work together and we can be an entity and make a big difference and certainly doing it through young people, education and all the right things, looking after employees, raising living standards and giving opportunity.
“There is so much good work going out there, let’s get together and make it happen.
“We have seen some good stuff tonight, very exciting stuff, this should only be the beginning, let’s make the cake bigger, never mind who’s going to share the cake, let’s just make it bigger and then everybody does benefit.”
Mr Bramall and wife Liz won the individual award for their significant track record in philanthropy after selling the regeneration and housebuilding firm Keepmoat for £786m in 2007.
The tenth annual awards celebrated the brightest and best businesses in Yorkshire and recognised the achievements of small, medium and large companies from across the region.
Archbishop of York John Sentamu, the guest speaker, recalled the philanthropy of Quaker chocolate companies as he encouraged Yorkshire businesses to “blaze a trail” and fight inequality in society.
He said: “The chocolate trinity, Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry, cared deeply that their workers needed good housing, good salaries, good jobs and those businesses thrived. To me, that’s what an enterprising company is all about.”
Archbishop Sentamu has been campaigning for a fair living wage and dismissed the Government’s new National Living Wage as “simply a top-up of the minimum wage”. He said Britain is at risk of becoming a place where the have and have-nots live in separate worlds.
Mr Sentamu called on Yorkshire businesses to support the Living Wage Foundation’s target of lifting one million people out of low pay by 2020.
He said: “Income inequality is a giant of our time which we must slay. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, don’t go where the path may lead, go where there is no path and blaze a trail.
“If in God’s Own County do as God would do.”
More than 210 people attended the glittering ceremony at The Queens hotel in Leeds. Justin Webb, the BBC Today programme presenter, was master of ceremonies.
Jeremy Clifford, Editor of The Yorkshire Post, said the winners “epitomise all that is great about our county”.
DLA Piper, PwC and Yorkshire Bank are the awards’ main sponsors; Bradford University School of Management, Drax Group, QBE Insurance and thebigword are the associate sponsors.
* See page six for a full interview with Liz and Terry Bramall.