£2.6 million in new funding agreed to progress key Mayoral pledges

Investment to support good work, jobs for young people, the region’s creative and cultural sectors and bus reform

An investment of up to £2.6 million has been agreed to make progress on key Mayoral pledges around good work, skilled jobs for young people, supporting West Yorkshire’s creative and cultural sector, and bringing the region’s bus system back into public control.   

The decision was taken by the region’s leaders at yesterday's meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the first chaired by Tracy Brabin Mayor of West Yorkshire.  

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “At my first meeting of the Combined Authority as Mayor, the Leaders of West Yorkshire’s councils and I have started the process of delivering on my pledges to create a stronger, fairer West Yorkshire for all.    

“We’ve set out the priorities for the coming year and plans for how we’re going to invest some of the money unlocked through devolution, so we can help our region recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic with good jobs and skills.   

“And I’m delighted we have now taken the first step to fulfilling one of my key pledges of bringing buses back into public control by starting the process for full franchising of our bus network.”   

Using funding unlocked through the West Yorkshire Devolution Deal, the Mayor and Combined Authority have agreed to provide £500,000 support to the region’s important Creative and Cultural sector as it recovers from the pandemic.  

The Combined Authority agreed up to £600,000 over the next three years to develop a Fair Work Charter for West Yorkshire, to promote diverse workforces, good pay and conditions.  

To meet the Mayoral pledge of creating 1,000 well paid, skilled jobs for young people, the Combined Authority also agreed up to £500,000 to develop a support package for people aged 16-30 to help improve skills and find good jobs in the green and digital sectors.   

The meeting also saw the start of the process to fulfil a key Mayoral pledge of bringing buses back into public control, with the Combined Authority formally starting the process to consider bus franchising, alongside an Enhanced Partnership with the region’s bus operators.   

Up to £1 million will be made available to put in place the resources needed to progress bus franchising.   

These investments are in addition to £5 million to fund local economic recovery plans; a £13.5 million investment to help 10,000 people affected by the pandemic build new skills and find new jobs; and £6 million being made available to support a new generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.    

The meeting also saw the Mayor and members of the Combined Authority agree key portfolios around improving skills, housing and transport, the continuing regeneration of towns and cities and recovery from the pandemic, business support, and tackling the climate emergency.   

The Combined Authority brings together the Leaders of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield councils, alongside Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL as chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, and members of opposition parties to provide political balance, to improve the lives of everyone who works and lives in West Yorkshire.