Leaders call for £750m in Government support to help West Yorkshire coronavirus recovery

Government investment of £750m is needed to help West Yorkshire recover from coronavirus, local leaders have said.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has asked for the funding and support from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, with a focus on four pillars.

Developed by the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Board, the plans build on the region’s strengths in digital, manufacturing and entrepreneurship, and the opportunities of the transition to a net zero carbon economy.

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If delivered, leaders believe they would unlock benefits for the region and the UK as a whole.

West Yorkshire council leaders, pictured when celebrating the signing of the region's devolution deal. Photo: JPI Media

But they warn that without action the pandemic could lead to 58,000 job losses in the region and see the West Yorkshire economy shrink by £12bn this year alone.

Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: “We offer a practical vision of the role that West Yorkshire can play, firmly at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

“Through our £1.8bn devolution deal, the Government has shown that it understands the value of investing in West Yorkshire, and we have a strong track record of making the most of public spending to generate growth for our region’s economy.

“Our plan has identified areas where we can build on our region’s unique strengths to make a real difference and contribute to the leveling-up agenda. We want to create a better, more equal economy for the future and a cleaner, sustainable environment, with better jobs, higher skills and the right infrastructure for our communities.”

Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, added: “Through our locally led recovery plan we believe we have the blueprint to follow, the collective will, and the strong partnerships to deliver. We ask now that Government demonstrates their commitment both to our status as a Mayoral Combined Authority, and to levelling-up, by working with us to see this plan implemented.”

The letter notes that boosting West Yorkshire’s productivity in line with the UK average could add £8.5bn to the UK economy, while the region has the potential to create 70,000 new jobs in the low carbon economy.

The Government has committed to supporting regions in coronavirus recovery, with £1.6bn put towards scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships.

Measures announced by Mr Sunak also included the creation of tens of thousands of jobs through bringing forward work on £8.8bn of new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects.

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