IT is a serious cause for concern that Yorkshire is losing out on EU funding because of a failure on the part of the Government to sign off on the full amount allocated to the region.
There are bound to be many costs and consequences of the decision to leave the EU, but it is unacceptable that this region is denied money that has been agreed, and is vital if Yorkshire is to weather any economic shocks that result from Brexit.
As the Prime Minister toured the television studios yesterday emphasising her message that a vote for the Conservatives means stability and a strong negotiating position with the EU, she was at pains to point out that Britain will not suffer as a result of Brexit.
Yet the EU’s blunt rejection of Mrs May’s agenda for the negotiations is a stark illustration that the two years of talks that lie ahead will be difficult and any agreement hard-won.
Yorkshire needs to know that Mrs May will make good her promise of stability, and one way she can demonstrate that is by pledging that the full amount of funding allocated to the county’s four Local Economic Partnerships is made available.
For less than 40 per cent of the funds to have been signed off by her Government is simply not good enough. It hampers the LEPs’ ability to plan for the future, put programmes in place that ensure continuity, and introduces a worrying element of doubt at a time when reassurance is needed.
Government assurances that the regions will not lose out as a result of Brexit are worthless unless they are backed up by actions.
Yorkshire has been promised funding. That money is ours by right and agreement, and it should be signed off and delivered without further delay.
Concern over tests - Primary overhaul is needed
TESTING of primary school pupils has long been a source of contention, with teachers arguing that it places both children and themselves under undue levels of stress.
These concerns have been glibly dismissed by successive governments, yet the findings of the Commons Education Committee would appear to bear them out, which should be the spur for a re-examination of the testing regime.
There can be no doubt that if approached sensibly, a rigorous programme of testing is good for both schools and children. It ensures that schools are performing well, and provides both reassurance and a benchmark for parents, who can consult test results when choosing where to send their children.
But if achieving good test results becomes an end in itself, as appears to be the case from the MPs’ conclusions, it undermines both the credibility of the regime and potentially harms childrens’ prospects if they are effectively being “taught to the test” and consequently studying a curriculum that is narrower than it should be.
Testing has become an annual source of friction between the teaching profession and governments, and action is needed to take the heat out of the arguments. The aim of both sides should be to agree on a programme that works for schools, children and parents as part of a rounded education for pupils.
The committee’s recommendation of an overhaul of testing, so that schools are assessed over a three-year-period, rather than one year, is a sensible one deserving of serious consideration by the Government.
Our Tour de force - Yorkshire’s world showcase
AND so we bid a fond, and reluctant, farewell to the Tour de Yorkshire for another year.
It leaves glorious memories of sporting excellence, cheering crowds lining the route over three days of intense competition amid some of our most breathtaking scenery and a carnival atmosphere that raised the spirits of hundreds of thousands of people.
This great showcase for elite cycling has become an invaluable window on the world for Yorkshire, spreading a global message that we welcome visitors from home and abroad, and have much to offer.
We have become not just the spiritual home for competitive cycling, but an international tourist destination as a result.
Over the months ahead, our already booming tourist economy will benefit even further from the Tour, and the exposure it has brought.
Each of the three tours so far has been increasingly successful, and the event’s prestige will only grow. Roll on 2018.