Yorkshire has so much to offer... let us have the chance to succeed

PRIDE OF PLACE: David Cameron should make good his pledges to the Yorkshire region. Picture: Gerard Binks.

PRIDE OF PLACE: David Cameron should make good his pledges to the Yorkshire region. Picture: Gerard Binks.

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AS the Yorkshire Post challenges David Cameron to provide a fairer funding deal for Yorkshire, and honour his pre-election promises to the region, 20 prominent individuals outline their personal priorities for the county.

JAMES NEWMAN

James Newman is chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

MY main priority for the Government is to start to live up to the rhetoric of Yorkshire being a powerhouse of UK manufacturing and exports and support this, not with handouts from the centre, but by allowing the big cities in Yorkshire, through their LEPs, all with their own unique strengths, to be responsible for their own funding decisions.

If Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales can be trusted to make their own decisions, why not the English regions, which have been so unjustly disadvantaged over the last year?

Occasionally, economics must take preference to politics and the time is now.

DR ABDUL BARY MALIK

Dr Abdul Bary Malik is a Bradford community leader.

RATHER than appointing a Minister for Yorkshire, I would like to see some positive changes on the ground.

That means the Government working with retailers and developers so work can finally begin on a new shopping centre for Bradford.

People need to see something happening rather than watching a big hole in the city centre.

GP TAYLOR

GP Taylor is a bestselling author who lives near Scarborough.

YORKSHIRE produces some of the world’s finest writers, poets, musicians and business people. Sadly, most governments overlook Yorkshire. We are not as troublesome as the rebellious Scots. Nor are we as xenophobic as the Welsh.

Even though we have more people in Yorkshire than both those countries, we maintain our ties to England. In return, I believe we should be given Enterprise Status. The coalition should set up a northern free trade zone based on the conurbations of Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield. Businesses setting up there should be exempt tax for three years and then only pay 50 per cent of the national rate.

Yorkshire would become an ideal place for businesses from around the world to come to. After all, David Cameron owes it to us. As a Tory leader destroyed mining, steel and industry, it falls upon him to make amends.

DICKIE BIRD

Dickie Bird, from Barnsley, is a retired cricket umpire.

I’M Yorkshire through and through. This is the greatest county in the world, but there is no one batting for Yorkshire in the Government.

We must have a Yorkshire Minister, in the Cabinet, who is prepared to fight for this area – the whole country should not revolve around London.

My dad worked down the local pit from the age of 13 until he was 65. Where are the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow? Morning, noon and night, we need a Minister making sure today’s youngsters have a better future.

LIZ WALKER

Liz Walker is the organiser of the Penistone Show

TRAVEL makes you feel cheated. It is only when I leave my windy hilltop and the comfortable familiarity of South Yorkshire that I realise how far we’ve been left behind.

Our city centres are shabby, our transport feeble and, despite a massive rebuilding of schools in the monstrosity style of architecture, our public education remains abysmal.

But don’t give us public money. Give us business, give us events, give us even a sniff of the Olympics. We’re not some basket case that needs feeding pap, we have energy and ability. Give us the chance to show it.

ASHLEY JACKSON

Ashley Jackson is a renowned artist from Holmfirth.

AN old saying is: “The greatest ship that ever sailed is the apprenticeship.” Having sailed on this ship a long number of years ago, I still firmly believe this to be true.

If you look at countries such as Germany, they are reinvesting in skills to be ready for the turn in the economic climate. We should follow this model.

Three things are necessary – banks need to assist business and industry with cash flow, government contracts should be given to British companies and we need to adopt a “can do” attitude.

DOROTHY FAIRBURN

Dorothy Fairburn is regional director of the Country Land & Business Association, based in Easingwold.

THE CLA is calling for high-speed rural broadband to be rolled out across the whole of Yorkshire, reaching even the remote rural areas. It is an essential service for all farms and rural businesses.

We also want to see a planning system that recognises the need for rural development – especially for affordable housing and rural diversification – with policies agreed in Yorkshire and not imposed from London.

Following the demise of Yorkshire Forward, Defra in London has taken over responsibility for grant-aiding rural development; we need to ensure that this investment reflects the real needs of Yorkshire rather than Whitehall’s “best guess”.

NICK SEATON

Nick Seaton, from York, is secretary of the Campaign for Real Education.

YORKSHIRE has many fine schools, colleges and universities. It also has educational deserts where neither academic youngsters nor their more practically minded brethren can flourish – not good enough if the North is to thrive.

Central government’s urge for political consensus has produced confusing, complicated reforms, so progress is too slow. Instead we should concentrate on the areas of greatest need with less emphasis on social engineering and more on the grass-roots needs of individuals, their families and the economy – nurture aspiration and enterprise above equality.

Good teachers need freedom to teach, pupils need freedom to learn and above all, parents need freedom to choose.

GARY VERITY

Gary Verity is chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.

THE Government’s Tourism Strategy – which held Yorkshire up as an example of excellence – identified the sector as essential to the economic recovery. It also identified Yorkshire as one of a few elite areas capable of being an internationally attractive “attack brand” or “super-destination”.

One of the ideas being proposed at the moment, which we support, is for the Government to match fund the private sector membership of England’s “attack brands” over a minimum subscription level of £2m.

That would fulfil their goal to rebalance the economy away from London and the South East, invest in Yorkshire’s third largest industry and help safeguard 250,000 jobs.

DAVID WARD

David Ward is the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East.

IT is early days for the new Local Enterprise Partnerships – but what contribution will they make to the world famous Yorkshire brand? Does it matter?

Well, I think it does – in a way a London-centric Government cannot understand. For all its faults, Yorkshire Forward did speak up for Yorkshire and its demise has left a vacuum that needs to be filled.

I will be seeking to work with other Yorkshire MPs to ensure that the region retains a strong and co-ordinated voice with which to influence the Government.

BARRY DODD

Barry Dodd is the chairman of the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

WE need a Minister for Yorkshire to champion our region. Yorkshire Forward employed commission agents in several countries to generate a high level of inward investment enquiries.

The UKTI Inward Investment contract is now outsourced and managed centrally. In the past, most enquiries were for London and the South East. We need a champion to ensure we get our fair share.

Councils and LEPs cannot afford to provide the level of funding required to compete in a world market. We need special funding.

KEITH WAKEFIELD

Councillor Keith Wakefield is the Labour leader of Leeds Council.

WE have huge ambitions in Leeds to boost job opportunities and give young people the chance to fulfil their potential.

This can only be achieved by making strategic investments to stimulate the economy and give more confidence to the private sector.

If the Government would take action in just one area of our city, my priority would be public transport. Leeds needs a modern, efficient public transport system. That investment would encourage economic growth and regeneration.

What is more, improving wider transport links between Leeds and other cities will be key to encouraging sustainable, long-term economic growth in the North.

DAVID BROWN

David Brown is chief executive of the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

SOUTH Yorkshire needs the Government to be clearer about its position on buses. Does it think that reregulating the buses through a franchise system, like that for trams or trains, can work? If so they should say so, which would allow us to bring a better deal for the Yorkshire travelling public. They indicated when they took office that we would have an answer in six months, but after more than a year we are still waiting for direction.

We also need early access to the funding which has been announced through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. This will allow us to help stimulate economic growth in areas that are suffering through the slowdown. Some of the most deprived areas in the UK are in Yorkshire. In South Yorkshire we have had our funding for transport projects slashed in half. This funding is crucial to help people back into work.

DAVID BLUNKETT

David Blunkett is a former Cabinet minister and the Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough

IF the Local Enterprise Partnerships and the City Regions based on Britain’s largest cities are to work, then they will need a great deal more investment and freedom than currently offered through the centralised Growth Fund.

This would mean providing an investment pot for each recognised and accredited City Region which would give freedom locally and the wherewithal to engage in meaningful partnerships with private entrepreneurs and innovators, particularly in intellectual transfer from university to marketable product.

MARGARET WOOD

Margaret Wood is regional director of the Institute of Directors.

YORKSHIRE businesses have helped pioneer, develop and grow British industry. Yorkshire industry has made a significant contribution to the digital revolution and carbon capture. It is now time that contribution was recognised by this Government with tangible support.

Crucial to the ongoing recovery for Yorkshire, the regions and the UK is connectivity to the central infrastructure. Those links are crucial not just for Yorkshire and the regions but the whole of the UK. Yorkshire has already invested but the Government must now play its part and invest into the regions.

ROSIE WINTERTON

Rosie Winterton is a Doncaster MP and was the Yorkshire Minister under Gordon Brown.

INVESTMENT in manufacturing and enterprises across the region is central to its future prosperity.

The £80m loan to allow engineering firm Forgemasters to build parts for nuclear power stations – pledged by Labour but cancelled by the current Government – is a prime example.

Support for environmental issues and green jobs, such as renewable energy projects and clean coal projects in Humber and South Yorkshire, should be high on the agenda too.

It’s becoming clear this Government – who stripped the region of its minister and impose huge cuts – has no vision or strategy for Yorkshire and the Humber.

IAIN MOFFATT

Iain Moffatt is an office senior partner at KPMG, Leeds.

YORKSHIRE stands to benefit most from a blank sheet of paper starting point, from which the Government focuses funding on new sources of wealth for the region.

There are various sectors and specific opportunities, such as healthcare, carbon capture and storage and ports, that could be developed into significant and sustainable wealth creators.

I’d welcome government funding that achieves the aim of incentivising and thereby kick-starting private investment and further partnerships for growth in an emerging sector or two, that we can all get behind.

STEPHEN PARNABY

Councillor Stephen Parnaby is the Conservative leader of East Riding Council.

YORKSHIRE is at a crossroads of opportunity and challenge. The renewable investment opportunities are massive and must be captured and exploited particularly in the Humber. The challenge is to ensure that local people are educated, skilled and suitably motivated to make the most of the significant numbers of jobs that will be created.

Both private and public sectors must ensure that the new private sector led Local Enterprise Partnerships across the region deliver the economic prosperity that has been promised.

I am confident that both the public and private sectors in the region will “step up to the plate” and work together to deliver economic prosperity, jobs and investment.

EDWARD MCMILLAN-SCOTT

Edward McMillan-Scott is a Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber.

DAVID Cameron’s bid to cut the EU Budget will have a direct effect on the region. The EU has over time been a significant source of funding, most particularly the subsidies from the Common Agricultural Fund.

Recent research project for Yorkshire Forward – which this week steps out of managing EU funding because of cuts – focused upon four key policy domains including innovation, research and development, climate change. The EU gives added value to the region.

KEITH MADELEY

Keith Madeley is the chairman of the Yorkshire Society.

A VOICE for Yorkshire – that will make the single, biggest difference. Gary Verity at Welcome to Yorkshire is doing a great job on the tourist side, but we need someone like him to speak for the whole region.

Politics aside, Rosie Winterton did a good job as Yorkshire Minister and we need someone in the Government who is prepared to speak up for the region. People either loved or loathed Yorkshire Forward – but you could ring Terry Hodgkinson, the chairman, or chief executive Tom Riordan and you would have a voice for Yorkshire.

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