West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin must be 'bold and brave' in leadership, says region's leaders

West Yorkshire’s new metro mayor must help drive forward the region’s economy and ensure the Government is held to account, political and business leaders in the region have said.

Tracy Brabin has been urged to make good on her promise to “stand up for the region’s interests” and be bold in her leadership as senior figures maintained that kick-starting the economy was essential to Yorkshire’s future prosperity.

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New West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin vows to work with Westminster on what's be...

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Ms Brabin, a former Labour frontbencher, started her first day in her new job as West Yorkshire’s mayor on Monday, following a significant victory in the region’s first ever vote for a metro leader.

The Yorkshire Post reported yesterday that Ms Brabin had insisted she would “stand up” for the region while also backing Sir Keir Starmer as Labour leader following disappointing local election results nationally.

The Sheffield City Region’s mayor, Dan Jarvis, who was previously the region’s only metro mayor before Ms Brabin’s election victory, stressed the “pivotal role” the former MP for Batley and Spen had to play in helping “build back a better Yorkshire”.

Mr Jarvis said: “Tracy’s win is hugely significant. Since I was elected, I’ve seen first-hand just how much a Metro Mayor can do, and there are many issues that cut across the wider region – from transport and connectivity, decarbonisation to the economy and skills.

“Tracy is a good friend and a colleague, and I’m really looking forward to us working closely together so we can be even stronger in our efforts to build a better Yorkshire, and hold the Government to account.”

Tracy Brabin has been urged to make good on her promise to “stand up for the region’s interests” and be bold in her leadership as senior figures maintained that kick-starting the economy was essential to Yorkshire’s future prosperity. Photo credit: Steve Riding / JPImedia

Mr Jarvis added that Ms Brabin was a “much needed addition” to the metro mayor role when she became the first woman to hold the role in her “historic” victory on the weekend.

“There is still some way to go, but that representation is critical in a role which is so important,” Mr Jarvis said.

Meanwhile, a lobbying group representing northern businesses said Ms Brabin’s main priority should be on kickstarting the economic growth across the region with a focus on the environmental sector.

Henri Murison, the director for the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “Priority number one needs to be kickstarting economic growth across our region - and that will require bold, decisive leadership focused on accelerating the transition to net zero and investing in skills.”

The Sheffield City Region’s mayor, Dan Jarvis, who was previously the region’s only metro mayor before Ms Brabin’s election victory, said: “Tracy’s win is hugely significant. Since I was elected, I’ve seen first-hand just how much a Metro Mayor can do." Photo credit: Getty Images

The Yorkshire Post previously reported on civic and business leaders across the region saying the recovery from Covid-19 should be used to place long-term investment into environmental projects alongside other infrastructure as part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.

Roger Marsh, the chairman for the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has claimed that the green economy presents huge job opportunities across urban areas as well as more rural settlements and along the region’s coastal communities.

Push on devolution

West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin must back long-awaited devolution deals as civic and business leaders said a transfer of powers from Westminster was essential for rebuilding the economy.

Henri Murison, the director for the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “Priority number one needs to be kickstarting economic growth across our region - and that will require bold, decisive leadership focused on accelerating the transition to net zero and investing in skills.” Photo credit: JPIMedia

The Sheffield City Region’s mayor, Dan Jarvis, the Labour MP Barnsley Central, said: “Devolution has already been a success where it has been put in place - this latest Metro Mayor only reinforces the argument for more."

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) added it was crucial to see devolution deals including for the North Bank of the Humber as well as North Yorkshire and York to “truly build back better” the economy.

HenrI Murison, the director for the NPP, added: "Progress has been underwhelming on the decentralisation of powers and funding since Simon Clarke left and we need a renewed focus on the devolution agenda from government to deliver on levelling up."

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