While the election has been carefully managed by all the main parties the campaign has elicited important promises that could have a significant impact on the region.
Yorkshire has undoubtedly benefitted from both Labour and the Conservatives needing to court votes in a string of key marginals in the region.
1) High Speed Rail
The election campaign has produced firm promises of support for the delivery of HS2 to Yorkshire from all three main parties with the Conservatives endorsing a proposal to build the Leeds-Sheffield stretch early. In addition to backing HS2, the Liberal Democrats have backed the Transport for the North plan earlier this year which includes proposals for an improved northern regional rail network. David Cameron has suggested construction work on transpennine high speed rail within five years while Ed Miliband has said HS2 and high speed rail across the Pennines needs to go hand in hand.
Labour is promising to devolve £30bn of Treasury spending to regions to spend as they see fit and give areas the power to retain income from business rates. The Conservatives are committed to handing over “far-reaching powers” to local areas with George Osborne telling The Yorkshire Post he would be ready to re-open discussions on Yorkshire devolution on Friday if his party takes office. The Liberal Democrats are promising “devolution on demand” for areas which want to take more contro, over their own affairs.
Access to high speed broadband and better mobile phone coverage is a criticial issue for Yorkshire, particularly in rural areas. The Conservatives were already committed to delivering superfast broadband to 95 per cent of homes and firms by 2017 and has added a promise to subsidise superfast satellite services for hard to reach areas. The Liberal Democrats are promising to “complete the rollout” of broadband to almost every home and business while Labour says “all parts of the country” will benefit from affordable high speed broadband by the end of the Parliament.
4) Rural communities
The Liberal Democrats have promised a series of measures to support a “living, working countryside” including improvements to transport and protection for post offices. Labour would put in place a long term strategy to promote produce and protect farmers from unfair practices by retailers while the Conservatives are promising to strengthen laws giving communities the right to bid for key assets, such as village halls, and a 25-year plan to grow the British food sector.
Each of the main parties describe it in a different way and have made different promises to achieve it, but all three have committed to rebalance the economy so the South-East no longer grows much faster than the North.