The Yorkshire Post says: Business case cannot be ignored... Transport is key to Yorkshire's future

Transport is key to the future prosperity of Yorkshire.
Transport is key to the future prosperity of Yorkshire.
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YORKSHIRE is fortunate that it is home to cutting-edge companies like Sky Betting & Gaming whose presence and expertise is helping to keep this region at the forefront of the technology, digital and skills revolution.

Under-fire Grayling faces Yorkshire council bosses over region’s railway woes
Now employing in excess of 1,000 people, its soaring growth in both revenue and profits underlines the burgeoning importance of the tech sector as it continues to supplant traditional manufacturing industries.

Not only, therefore, is chief executive Richard Flint’s appointment as the new chairman of the CBI in Yorkshire both timely and opportune because of his impressive track record, but his company was amongst the first to voice concerns about decades of under-investment in the region’s transport infrastructure and its impact on today’s economy.

Despite its success, Sky Betting & Gaming is struggling to fill 200 vacancies and cites poor transport as a factor – it’s simply not possible or practical for young recruits to commute from Manchester, for example, because this region has never enjoyed London-like transport investment, hence a desire for improved links across the Pennines.

Even though Transport Secretary Chris Grayling did not have the basic courtesy to attend this week’s Commons debate on the North’s future, a very ill-advised and short-sighted decision, perhaps he will find the time to study the powerful interventions made by Yorkshire’s MPs.

Not only did they all say that improved road and rail connections were critical to growing the region’s wider economy, but they also stressed that it was in the national interest to do so and that it was, frankly insulting to order junior minister Jesse Norman to respond on behalf of the Government when his remit is merely “local transport”.

It could not have been more unsatisfactory, given Mr Grayling’s unexplained absence and the poorly-briefed Mr Norman’s refusal to take interventions from quizzical MPs about the Department for Transport’s various u-turns.

For, while Ministers clearly think it is acceptable to circumvent their Parliamentary duties – Mr Grayling did find the time on Monday to attend a summit on driverless cars and to write an article for London’s Evening Standard about the latest rail strikes – such obfuscation does little to further the laudable ambitions of companies like Sky Betting & Gaming.

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