Last year proved to be a stellar one for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority after the organisation pumped a further £270m into the city region.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority invested £270m over the last year to benefit local people and the Leeds City Region economy.
Having secured a £1bn plus package of investment via the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in 2014, 2016/17 marked the year when delivery of schemes to transform the region’s economy and transport network reached a new level.
This has seen the Combined Authority open two new train stations – Low Moor in Bradford and Kirkstall Forge in Leeds – more than anywhere else in the country, and provide £10m grant investment for SMEs which is set to create 1,340 jobs.
Of the £270m, £114m was invested in transport services to enable people to travel around the region easily and affordably, which included serving 1.9m in the Combined Authority’s Metro-branded travel centres across West Yorkshire.
Building on these achievements, the Combined Authority’s Corporate Plan 2017/18 outlines the measures it will take over the next year to improve transport, invest in infrastructure, support businesses to grow and enable people to access employment and training. Its main priority will be delivering inclusive growth that enables everyone in the City Region to benefit from a strong, successful regional economy.
Cllr Peter Box, chair of the Combined Authority and leader of Wakefield Council, said: “This year we’ve made significant steps towards making our vision of inclusive growth a reality, delivering schemes that are having a real impact on our region’s economy and the lives of those who live and work here.
“Looking forward, securing the tools to raise our own investment and take decisions locally about how to spend this is the best way to ensure our work benefits all our residents and communities. This is why ensuring our region feels the benefit of full, meaningful devolution remains a top priority for us in the year ahead.”
A further priority for the Combined Authority in 2017/18 is securing a devolution deal encompassing the City Region to provide longer-term, flexible funding streams and the ability to direct these towards those areas that will have the greatest benefits for local people.
Cllr Judith Blake, Combined Authority board member and leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The impact of the Combined Authority shows what can be achieved when we work together. Our aim is very much to drive forward growth and opportunity for all to benefit from, helping businesses to flourish, transforming our transport and infrastructure and encouraging job creation and skills development.
“We have much more to do in the months and years ahead, and there should be no limits to our ambition as we look to maximise the profile of our region on an international scale in order to improve the lives of people living in our communities.”
Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the LEP, said: “Over the past year, we have begun to deliver at a scale and pace unprecedented in over 12 years of partnership working between City Region councils and businesses.
“We’ve built new rail stations, invested in new world-class learning facilities at FE colleges and supported more than 2,000 small businesses to grow and create jobs – with much more to come in the year ahead. I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to ensure everyone in the City Region feels the benefits of a strong economy.”
The Combined Authority is the driving force behind local councils’ and businesses’ collective vision to make the Leeds City Region known globally as a strong and successful economy where everyone can build great businesses, careers and lives.
The corporate plan sets out what the Combined Authority, working with partners, will deliver over the next 12 months to achieve this vision.