Yorkshire needs stronger voice on everything from food production to HS2 cash: Rashmi Dubé

Watch out for the white rabbit, follow it… and you may just be lucky enough to enter a new world order led by Yorkshire.

The world around us is in chaos. The pandemic left the economy unstable, then fast forward and add some more world crises together with that fact that we have some understanding of the negative impact of the human race on the environment and the need for net zero to have some impact for improvement.

This is not to mention the water crisis.

Finally there is an interesting backdrop that has taken centre stage with no objections or resistance, and that is the growing battle for control over food supply.

Rashmi Dube has her sayRashmi Dube has her say
Rashmi Dube has her say
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All I want to do is ensure that the North has the power and financial freedom to allow us to create change, drive growth and ensure our infrastructure is right for our needs. If indeed the water crisis is looming in the next seven years, I suspect that food prices and control will be also.

Technology can be of assistance but can also be a destroyer. The big tech bosses know how to use technology and also have an understanding over what will be the next big thing that will generate profit. Food seems to be right up there. Amazon has firmly established its position in the food market and Bill Gates has investment in smaller farmers and owning large amounts of land. Potato fields in Nebraska are reportedly "so massive that they are visible from space".

However large companies are linking with tech and cloud-based companies to gather data from farmers on the basis that it will assist farmers but in practice, like all data, there is a buyer and seller. In a time where we see only a few organisations hold unprecedented control over data, communications and the food system will evolve in ways that reinforce their power and profits. Similar issues are being experienced in Kenya and India.

Why is this important to our infrastructure? The drive for growth and change is simple. These are just some of the issues we are facing, and understanding benefits for us is critical, alongside what are the true costs involved. In our world today we cannot simply rely upon the financial costs of things to understand their true benefit.

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For instance if there was a real connectivity between the north and south through transportation that could be experienced by users, it would allow business to have true, improved access to land and property. In a time when I personally need to travel a lot more from the North to the South, I have to make calculated decisions to have some meetings over Teams/Zoom and not in person, and who loses out? Transportation, hospitality sector, and the entire supply chain to those sectors.

If indeed we want to "create change and drive growth across our country,” and that “we must get our infrastructure right” (Prime Minster talking about HS2), then maybe we need to revolutionise how things are done. Allow Yorkshire to lead the way, and give it control over its fiscal policies. If there is indeed £36 billion to be redistributed across the country from the HS2 cancellation, then why can’t Yorkshire now take control over how its part is spent?

We need more control and an advocate that will be heard within the walls that makes our decisions.

Rashmi Dubé is a partner at gunnercooke