THE main parties have underlined their drive to secure Yorkshire votes with a string of promises that aim to address this region’s major issues.
Analysis of the pledges made this week by the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats reveal a string of commitments that address concerns raised by A Manifesto for Yorkshire, published by The Yorkshire Post.
Labour and the Conservatives are fighting over a string of marginal seats in the region as they cling on to hope of forming a government after May 7 while the Lib Dems are battling to hold on to Bradford East, Leeds North West and Nick Clegg’s own seat of Sheffield Hallam as the party strives to hold the balance of power.
Yorkshire has already seen a string of campaigning visits by senior party figures insisting they will deliver for the region and that is expected to intensify between now and polling day with seats such as Halifax, Keighley and Elmet and Rothwell considered too close to call.
The manifestos published this week all make commitments on handing over more decision-making powers, and money currently spent by the Government, to the region - a key issue raised by A Manifesto for Yorkshire.
The Conservatives have promised to hand over “far-reaching powers” to cities which choose to adopt elected mayors while Labour is committed to handing £30 billion of Government spending over to “city and county regions” and the Lib Dems are offering “devolution on demand”.
There is unequivocal backing to continue with the HS2 high speed rail line to Yorkshire and to improving transpennine rail journeys with the Lib Dems including an explicit commitment to deliver the ambitious Transport for the North strategy to improve road and rail connections.
Yorkshire’s ambitions to be at the heart of the green energy revolution are also supported in the main parties’ pitch for votes.
The Conservatives have promised £1 billion to support carbon capture and storage - a technology which could support 4,000 skilled jobs in the region - while the Lib Dems support increased research in this area and Labour have promised it will be part of the UK’s “energy mix”.
A Manifesto for Yorkshire’s demand for a better deal for rural areas on access to high speed broadband is also addressed.
The Lib Dems are promising to “complete the rollout of high-speed broadband, to reach almost
every household” and Labour wants “all parts of the country to benefit from affordable, highspeed broadband”.
The Conservatives want rural areas to enjoy “near universal superfast broadband” by the end of the next parliament including through the use of “superfast capable satellite services”.
Supporting the domestic food industry, to the benefit of both consumers and producers, was a key issue raised by A Manifesto for Yorkshire and taken up by the parties.
A Labour government would draw up a “long term strategy” to promote British produce and protect farmers from retailers’ “unfair practices” while the Lib Dems want to work with the European Union to achieve clear country of origin labelling and introduce a “national food strategy”.
The Conservatives are committeed to developing a “25 year plan to grow more, buy more and sell more British food” and push for “further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy”.
You can read and comment on A Manifesto for Yorkshire at www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/election-politics/yorkshire-manifesto