The industrial strategy that is being pulled together by business leaders in North Yorkshire is designed to shape the next 20 years of productivity and growth in the region– and it is certainly ambitious.
With plans to create thousands of new jobs, cut carbon emissions and build more than 100,000 new homes, the initiative being shown by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership to boost the area’s economy is welcome, particularly as there does finally appear to be some movement on Yorkshire devolution.
Though it is to West Yorkshire’s political leaders that the Government has laid out an offer which could see them handed powers and resources, this plan, if well-executed, provides North Yorkshire leaders with the chance to demonstrate that they have the willpower and capability to make billions of pounds worth of revolutionary change in a large and diverse area, an opportunity that could prove to be vitally important when it comes to future negotiations around any potential One Yorkshire, or North Yorkshire, devolution deals.
Key to the success of economic transformation is the realisation that urban and rural areas and interdependent. This will certainly be crucial for North Yorkshire, as the home of agricultural landscapes, a vast stretch of coastline, market towns and the city of York as the county goes forward.
Further, investment in all communities, especially those in Yorkshire’s countryside, must come hand in hand with affordable housing, social amenities and skills education to suit local job needs if all rural areas are to benefit from these plans.