Three ways the incoming West Yorkshire Mayor can grow its economy - Beckie Hart

The incoming mayor of West Yorkshire will face a lengthy to-do list. Overcoming the Covid pandemic and guiding an economic recovery of course sits at the top – and there is cause for optimism on that front, with vaccination programmes advancing well.

Yet even once that crisis is past, there will be no time to relax, as there are other challenges ahead which require bold action and innovative solutions.

Decisive interventions on, skills, infrastructure, inequality and climate change will all be crucial to the region’s long-term prosperity.

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It is clear from the questions posed to some of the mayoral candidates at our hustings event we delivered in partnership with the West and North Yorkshire Chamber and the FSB that West Yorkshire needs a mayor with the influence and the ambition to drive positive change on all of these fronts, and who can combine with counterparts in other mayoral regions to truly bring the levelling-up agenda to life.

How West Yorkshire can grow its economy.

That is why the CBI has published its West Yorkshire Revival Plan; in essence, a plan from businesses on how to release the region’s unique strengths to turbo-charge recovery, accelerate moves to net zero and lay the foundations for a sustainable and equitable economic future, built on growth that’s shared.

Creating a welcoming business environment is a priority. This includes overcoming skills shortages and pockets of low productivity and successfully addressing inequalities in education and income depend upon attracting inward investment while seeking improvements in physical infrastructure and digital connectivity.

This means addressing the short-term challenges of Covid – while also developing and championing a long-term vision of West Yorkshire as a healthier, more productive and thriving place.

The new West Yorkshire mayor must recognise that a strong economy which delivers shared growth and good jobs can raise living standards and wages for all.

The CBI Revival Plan breaks down this challenge into three key areas. Firstly, champion regional dynamism and global competitiveness to raise living standards. Secondly, transform digital and physical infrastructure in the race to net zero.

Third, stimulate job creation and secure an inclusive future workforce.

Together, the CBI believes these actions can address inequalities and equip West Yorkshire with the infrastructure, talent and investment needed to thrive through post-pandemic recovery and beyond.

To be a success, this requires a renewed partnership, which builds on the collaboration we have seen throughout the pandemic.

Business stands ready to step up and support the mayor, and to work collaboratively with other businesses, neighbouring authorities, unions and the third sector, as well as all parts of government to revive the economy and thrive in the future.

Whatever the challenges we are facing – both today and in the future – they can be overcome by cross-sector co-operation, spearheaded by bold leadership and a clear vision from our new mayor.