YEP Says, May 13: Leeds will be a key litmus test for the Prime Minister

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DAVID Cameron is right on one thing – the Cabinet won’t be forgiven by the people of Leeds if it doesn’t deliver its key manifesto promise to make the North an economic powerhouse.

DAVID Cameron is right on one thing – the Cabinet won’t be forgiven by the people of Leeds if it doesn’t deliver its key manifesto promise to make the North an economic powerhouse.

The Prime Minister’s first major regional visit after his 2010 victory was to Shipley to highlight the North’s potential and importance. It was significant too that Stockton South also hosted the PM following a meeting of the new-look Cabinet.

A top Labour target seat which the Tories won with a much increased majority, its MP, James Wharton, has now been handed responsibility for implementing the so-called Northern Powerhouse strategy to deliver promised transport and infrastructure improvements to this region.

In this regard, Greg Clark’s appointment as Communities and Local Government Secretary is significant. He knows Leeds well and he will also be less confrontational than his predecessor Eric Pickles.

However he remains committed to elected mayors – still a stumbling block locally – and his department faces significant funding cuts because it has not been afforded protected status.

Having raised expectations, Mr Cameron’s team must now lead Yorkshire from a period of “repair and recovery” into a new era of “renewal”.

Council right to bet the house

IF the Northern Powerhouse is going to be more than mere words on a page then cities like Leeds will need thousands more affordable homes.

But just how many more is a matter for debate. Leeds City Council says it will build 70,000 between now and 2028 to cope with demand, the Office for National Statistics reckons we’ll only need 44,500.

The council is right to stick to its guns, but it must stay flexible and ensure that brown field sites are used first. These cost more to develop, so the Government must give incentives to developers to do so – if it’s genuine about protecting the green belt, that is.