Spending practices by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have come under considerable scrutiny from The Yorkshire Post in recent weeks, with searching questions raised over whether this important body responsible for the region’s economic development is spending public money in the right manner given the hundreds of thousands paid for networking events and “executive coaching” for senior managers.
In that light, it is heartening to hear of the authority’s ongoing work to bring a major pharmaceutical manufacturing plant to Leeds and the serious consideration being given to providing a £3m grant to secure a deal which would potentially have major economic benefits for the city region for decades to come.
If an agreement can be secured, it is hoped the arrival of the plant would lead to the payment of annual business rates of £1m and potential economic growth for the region that could stretch into the hundreds of millions.
While many details of the so-called ‘Project Beta’ initiative to bring the pharmaceutical company to West Yorkshire remain under wraps, making it more difficult to assess whether such a grant is necessary to securing the plant’s arrival, it can only be right the idea of the investment is being given careful consideration.
This project appears to be the perfect example of the authority’s stated purpose of raising quality of life in the region by creating the right environment for business growth. Exploring such opportunities is exactly the type of thing taxpayers want to see it investing its time and money into.