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Response to Queen's Speech

Responding to today’s Queen’s Speech, Cllr Peter Box, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority said:

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to spread prosperity and opportunity across the country through a new modern industrial strategy, and its plans to attract investment in infrastructure, provide people with the training they need for high-skilled, high-wage jobs and strengthening protection for tenants and the building of more affordable homes.

“However, with no Parliamentary majority and a schedule dominated by Brexit, the Government must urgently consider giving business and civic leaders in major city regions the powers and funding to take the practical steps we know will transform our economies, through an ambitious devolution agreement.

“We have already begun to discuss with Government how we might drive a local, inclusive industrial strategy in conjunction with business and community groups across the City Region. And we have reached a widespread consensus with colleagues across the county that this is the best way forward if we are to exploit emerging global opportunities.

“Everyone’s opportunity to achieve their full potential starts with a great education system so we welcome the Government’s commitment that schools are fairly funded, but this must mean genuinely transformative investment. Government must also deliver on promises for technical education, including our fair share of the £500m for new Institutes of Technology and helping people at any stage of their working life retrain for the jobs of tomorrow that were announced in the March Budget.

Social care

Leeds City Council Leader Cllr Judith Blake said: “Social care is by far the greatest cost pressure on local government and while Government has been unable to come up with a clear answer, we see local authority services for people who are often the most elderly and vulnerable in our society stretched to breaking point. This crisis in social care is creating huge challenges for both local government and the NHS and while we welcome the Government’s commitment to bring forward proposals for consultation on the sustainable funding of social care we need to see action too. That means action for both local authorities and the NHS to get help in our communities where it is needed as this also affects paid and unpaid carers, families and friends who provide those vulnerable people with vital support and compassion.

“A commitment to spreading prosperity and opportunity has to be welcomed but it has to be matched with meaningful actions and investment that enables us as business and civic leaders to take the practical steps that will transform our economies and our communities.”
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