THE upcoming changes at Leeds and Partners after Lurene Joseph announced her resignation as chief executive of the marketing agency need to be seen in a Yorkshire-wide context as this region – and the rest of Britain for that matter – comes to terms with the ramifications of the recent referendum on Scottish independence.
They also need to respond to one pivotal question – what will be the most effective way of attracting inward investment and new jobs so Yorkshire does not lose out to rival regions, like the North West and North East, which are also working tirelessly to persuade businesses to relocate to their respective areas?
In this regard, now is the time for a careful discussion about the future role of Leeds and Partners. Should the organisation remain under the auspices of Leeds City Council which has its own financial challenges – or should it come under the remit of the area’s Local Enterprise Partnership which already operates on a city-region basis?
If it is decided that these bodies should have an increased role, and this is certainly the Government’s intention under George Osborne’s plan to turn the North into an “economic powerhouse”, what is the best way of maximising the work of Yorkshire’s four LEPs so they do not end up competing against each other for the same jobs and opportunities?
As the Tour de France showed, Yorkshire is at its best – and strongest – when the whole region pulls together. Moving forward, there is no greater challenge than ensuring that this area has the correct structures in place so Yorkshire is the first port of call for firms looking to invest and expand.