UNSURPRISINGLY, but nonetheless infuriatingly, a Labour candidate (Tracy Brabin) has been elected as the inaugural Mayor for West Yorkshire.
Her agenda? To plug the so-called North-South divide by magically transforming an area that has frankly been run down into the ground for decades.
Under Labour, it will continue to do so. We are reportedly trusting our mayor with the responsibility of handling £38m of investment from central government each year for the next 30 years (£1.1bn total investment), as well as control over transport, housing, land and adult skills.
My advice would be not to spend it all at once, although this might be more difficult than you’d think, looking at the huge amounts wasted in recent years, particularly on failed transport improvement schemes where ridiculous amounts have been thrown down the drain.
What do we have to show for it? A few miles of public bicycle lanes that are rarely used and certainly don’t justify the overall costs.
The housing situation is dire. Many social housing schemes are cash-strapped, properties are being taped and glued together in an attempt to cut costs on full renovation plans.
Meanwhile Leeds City Council continues to spend vast amounts of its total revenues on social care across the city, rather than fleshing out the root causes of these issues and acting accordingly.
Its approach to splashing the cash – on a cure that clearly doesn’t work – only continues to detriment other more urgent projects being under-funded with some losing out entirely.