How Yorkshire towns can lead UK fightback – The Yorkshire Post says
RISHI SUNAK’S much-vaunted Winter Jobs Plan is a credible attempt to stave off mass unemployment in the coming months – and its success will be determined by the number of people who stay in a work as a result of the Chancellor’s latest measures.
Yet, while his decision to defer the Budget is understandable, his Commons speech on Thursday was notable for the omission of future investment in skills, retraining and digital connectivity, all of which are key to Britain’s future.
Mr Sunak was deliberately careful – and cautious – with his words when he told MPs: “Our economy is now likely to undergo a more permanent adjustment.” Yet this is already happening. The continuing absence of commuters has left city centre locations desolate while traditional towns appear to be enjoying a resurgence of sorts.
And the advent of remote working – whether it be in homes or office hubs – is opening up much needed new opportunities for the economy; today’s report by the North and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership is just the latest to reach this conclusion.
Once again, it says the number one area holding back such towns, like those in the Chancellor’s own Richmond constituency, is the poor quality of local broadband. Its many proposals also include the use libraries – many of which are fighting for their futures – as centres to teach new digital skills to the less computer-savvy.
Precisely the type of proactive approach favoured by Mr Sunak, such towns can lead the national fightback, however, and also provide families with an enhanced quality of life, if a special Government task force is set up to accelerate the provision of high-speed broadband to all. Perhaps the Chancellor can provide a lead – given how he is one of the few senior politicians to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis so far with an enhanced reputation.
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