This column is coming to you on my first day as business editor of The Yorkshire Post.
It is a role I am extremely proud and privileged to have been awarded. I have spent my entire career in journalism working in Yorkshire, including a stint as business editor at Bradford’s local paper the Telegraph & Argus. We are blessed in that Yorkshire can boast a business community that is genuinely unique and special. As well as being home to some of the nation’s most eminent names in business and a number of FTSE100 firms, it continues to build on its proud history as a hotbed of entrepreneurship.
From the steelworks of Middlesbrough to the textile mills of Bradford to the mineshafts of South Yorkshire, this is the region that built, clothed and powered the world for centuries.
Of course the landscape of our region’s commerce has changed beyond recognition but the spirit and commitment to excellence remains brighter than ever.
Areas such as finance, manufacturing and food and drink remain very strong. The burgeoning technological industries in our cities are a huge area for growth and provide unprecedented opportunities for the future. Home to some of the most glorious countryside in the world, we need to ensure it is sustained by the food and farming industries that inhabit it.
Yorkshire’s politicians and local authority chiefs must always do everything in their power to make sure that entrepreneurs and businesses from every corner of Yorkshire are given all the support they need to grow and flourish.
And The Yorkshire Post has a huge responsibility in this quest too. Myself and the title will always be a champion and platform for Yorkshire’s business. We are and will continue to be a unifying force, highlighting what the region needs and celebrating what we do best. Our annual Excellence in Business Awards celebrate Yorkshire commerce every year and I cannot wait for the big day in November.
While we cannot ignore that it is a political sound bite, it is clear from my initial conversations with business leaders in the region that we must not let the opportunity for the so-called Northern Powerhouse slip from our grasp.
For the first time in decades we have the opportunity to bring together our collective strength as a region and finally take control over the mechanisms we need to deliver on our potential.
With increased devolution comes increased responsibility. Having campaigned for greater autonomy and a less centralised economy and society we must deliver for our region and make sure that our leadership is strong and well thought out.
Other than being a champion for Yorkshire commerce my other main priority will be to preserve the proud legacy of our print product as well as to enhance the digital coverage we provide and you will be hearing more from me on this matter in the coming weeks and months.
Last week I interviewed the Chancellor of the Exchequer and he and I discussed the Oscar-winning film Spotlight that dramatises the Boston Globe’s peerless work in exposing abuse in the Catholic church. George Osborne made the point that large and strong regional newspapers like the Globe and The Yorkshire Post are invaluable to the areas they serve. On this matter we are in complete agreement.
I am as passionate about Yorkshire as I am journalism. I grew up on the North Yorkshire coast, went to University in Leeds and started my career in Bradford. I know and love this county well and want nothing but the best for its businesses and its people. My role as business editor is to represent and highlight your needs and achievements and my doors will always be open to all businessmen and women across the patch.
I look forward to working with you all.