Leeds Council to 'double size of city centre' in bid to tackle poverty

An ambitious five year plan to tackle inequality while ensuring the local economy flourishes has been approved by Leeds City Council decision-makers today.

Leeds city centre could double in size

Members of the authority’s executive board agreed to adopt the Leeds Inclusive Growth strategy, which contains 12 “big ideas” on how to make sure everyone benefits from the city’s economic prosperity.

-> Hyperloop: Could this be the answer to Leeds' transport problems?Plans include doubling the size of the city centre, tackling low pay and revamping transport, schools and housing.

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A report which went before councillors said: “There is a need to do more on inclusive growth to ensure everyone in the city contributes to and benefits from the economy to their full potential.

“There is a need to do more to tackle poverty. Low pay and low productivity are big issues both nationally and in Leeds, and the strategy recognises the importance that low wage sectors have in our economy.”

The report received enthusiastic cross-party support at the meeting.

-> Leeds Festival: Everything you need to know about the line up, performance and scheduleAndrew Carter, the leader of the council’s Conservative group, said: “My colleagues were impressed with the document. It’s a real step forward and I welcome it.”

The Leader of the council’s Liberal Democrats group Coun Stewart Golton said: “This is a very impressive document. Any growth that is delivered in this region from our efforts, we should make sure everyone benefits from it.

“It’s very difficult to demonstrate the value you’re bringing with your strategy, but this document is very good at demonstrating this.“Some of those areas like disability – we can unlock the ability for disabled people to start their own businesses.”

Council Chief Executive Tom Riordan added: “Children are right at the heart of this and are not peripheral.

“We know in a city like Leeds retail is crucial, not just for jobs but for how a place actually works.

“The recognition of the federal economy is important, and if you look at the scale of the development, there is a real positive agenda to that.

“I do think technology is also fundamental to a city over how we can utilise a diverse tech sector in Leeds and help companies get to the level they need to be.”

Council Leader Judith Blake (Lab) said: “We are proud that the council is a real living wage employer – it is important for us to put our money where our mouth is and invest in our workforce.”