ACTION on improving transport connectivity in Yorkshire and the North has been described as “imperative” by professional services giant KPMG.
A new report from the firm advises that the upcoming Budget in March offers a crucial opportunity to lift regional growth and should not be missed.
The report calls for significant investment in regional transport and broadband connectivity to support the creation of larger agglomeration areas outside London and the South East by linking more economic areas together.
Euan West, office senior partner at KPMG in Leeds, said “With Nexus forging an innovation connection between the University of Leeds and entrepreneurs; Hull benefiting from some of the fastest broadband in the country and an invigoration of the retail and leisure offer in Bradford, as well as Leeds, city centres, there is evidence that several of the assets we recommend in our report are already making a difference to Yorkshire’s economic prowess.
“However, our analysis highlights that for inclusive economic growth to really be stimulated and sustained in an area, devolution should be key to the policy making environment. Yorkshire has fallen far behind other parts of the UK when it comes to securing the associated funding and empowerment. So this week’s news that Sheffield City Region has secured a deal is absolutely welcome and it’s to be hoped that there is progress in relation to more of the region sooner rather than later.
“Transport infrastructure is also a perennial challenge to the productivity of this region. From urban travel within Leeds, for example, to the ability of Yorkshire’s talent to access opportunity across the North, it is imperative that discussion translates into action on Northern Powerhouse Rail and local public transport services.”
Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK and author of the report, said: “The Budget in March will offer the Government an opportunity to address the regional disparities in the UK, but if it is to make a long-lasting difference, it will need to be focused on the right areas and follow the key principles outlined in this report.”