July 8: Hull businesses backing united Yorkshire

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Devolution and the voice of business

From: Collective business principals of the following Hull and East Riding companies, Airco Ltd, Arco Ltd, Beal Developments Ltd, Chameleon Business Interiors Ltd, Eltherington Group Ltd, Hall Construction Group Ltd, Hobson and Porter Ltd, Horncastle Group plc, House of Townend Ltd, Andrew Jackson Solicitors, Jelf Insurance Partnership, MKM Building Supplies Ltd, Needlers Ltd, RE: Group (UK) Ltd, J R Rix & Sons Ltd, Rollits LLP, Sangwin Holdings Ltd, Sewell Group Ltd, Sonoco Trident, Spencer Group Ltd, Swift Group Ltd, Willerby Holiday Homes Ltd, Alan Wood & Partners Ltd, Wykeland Group Ltd.

IN response to recent media statements alleging that the Hull and East Riding business community is not supportive of the developing Yorkshire devolution agenda, we felt compelled to set out clearly that this is not the case.

The potential for Yorkshire devolution offers our sub-region and the wider Yorkshire area an unprecedented opportunity to allow decision-making and to determine funding allocations, currently made centrally in Whitehall, by those who fully understand the regional and local challenges and opportunities and who actually have a stakeholding in our region.

It is only logical that, by working together on a scale that is unparalleled, even when compared to Manchester, Yorkshire has the potential to make its own decisions and to generate the growth, employment and investment that our region needs – and we need to be part of this.

We should not forget that Yorkshire has a population of over five million people, generates a gross value added (GVA) of over £100 billion and is fundamental to the economy of the UK and to the developing Northern Powerhouse.

We need to have devolution of financial control and decision-making that allows our region to compete on both the national and international stages in an environment which is exceedingly challenging and increasingly competitive.

We support the concept of a regional Yorkshire Mayor who, working with local leaders and businesses, will be responsible for the delivery of any devolved powers and who will have credibility to put our case and argue our corner on a national and international basis.

The voice of business, that will ultimately provide the growth and investment required, is extremely important and any structures will need to ensure that this voice is not only heard but listened to.

Although still in the very 
early stages, we are reassured that our local and national politicians understand 
this and will ensure that devolution accommodates both our views and our future contributions.

Of course, it is crucial that the Humber retains a significant cross-Estuary focus to continue the good work of the Humber LEP and to maintain its business voice that is so hugely credible with Government. We must ensure that this focus on key sectors of shared interest such as ports, logistics, chemicals and renewables is not lost.

All four Humber local authorities have committed to ensuring that this is the case. With the Humber, we bring with us the largest port complex in the UK and the fourth largest in Europe. This represents a real opportunity for us to maximise upon.

We do not believe however that to focus on the Humber alone will deliver the changes that are needed. The Humber simply does not have the scale to maximise on the devolution opportunities and nor is it substantial enough to compete with devolved regions such as Manchester and the many that will follow. Both public and private sectors must ensure that they play a full and active role in a devolved Yorkshire so that our interests are enhanced and protected and we are not left isolated, as we have been in 
the past.

As major employers, investors and financial generators in the region, we feel it is extremely important that residents and other businesses understand that our politicians are engaging and listening and that we, as a business community, are fully supportive of our region playing a full part in the Yorkshire devolution opportunities we have ahead.

Airport is a nightmare

From: Tim Radcliffe, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.

A FAMILY group of us travelled to Alicante from Leeds Bradford Airport last week and what an unpleasant experience it was. We arrived well before the two hours that are suggested for check-in, with the intention of having breakfast.

No chance. We parked in the car park adjacent to the terminal building but it took us over two hours to check-in and get through security. Other members of the group who used the long-term car park were delayed a further 30 minutes waiting for a bus.

Getting to the airport is a nightmare and getting away from it was even worse. To rub salt into the wounds, they constantly run an announcement that they are sorry for the delays, but these are due to the high volume of incoming flights.

The facility is totally inadequate for the number of passengers they are trying to handle and instead of describing themselves as Leeds Bradford International Airport they should re-name themselves Leeds Bradford Airstrip. Will I ever fly through there again? If there is an alternative such as Manchester, Liverpool or even East Midlands, absolutely not.