Combined Authority to receive economic and transport recovery plans

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is to consider draft economic and transport plans designed to help the region recover from COVID-19, at its next meeting on Monday 27 July.

The draft plans set out actions needed for a locally led recovery that builds on the West Yorkshire’s strengths and puts in place measures to support jobs, supported by transport options that allow people to travel in safety and with confidence.  

In the face of COVID impacting hardest on the poorest and most disadvantaged, the draft plans have a priority to reduce inequality, increase inclusivity, and build a resilient and sustainable environment for the region’s shared future. 

The agreed plans will be the basis of discussions with Government on the support the region needs and how West Yorkshire can contribute to the national recovery effort. 

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: “The Combined Authority and its partners are focused on doing all they can to support our region in the recovery from the devastating impact of COVID-19. These draft plans are about creating a better, more equal economy for the future and a cleaner, sustainable environment, with better jobs, higher skills and the right infrastructure for our communities. 

“This work has been led by local leaders, because the recovery efforts must be led locally if they are to be successful - focused on our local needs and led by those who know the West Yorkshire people and its economy.” 

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead, said: “The way people access and use public transport will change as a result of COVID-19, but we need to be ready to ensure public transport can play its part in getting people back to work and leisure in a safe, secure way that supports a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.

“Over the past three months we have seen people walking or cycling more, with big improvements in air quality and congestion. As the economy recovers, we want to build on this and avoid a return to cars, with the consequent negative impacts for our environment, public health and the economy, in order to do this we need to regain people’s confidence in the public transport system and show them that it is safe to use.” 

The recovery plans have been developed in partnership with the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Board, which brings together local authority leadership, public partners, trade unions and the private and third sector.  

The economic recovery plan has identified health tech, digital, entrepreneurs and the transition to a net zero carbon economy as distinct areas where West Yorkshire can make a contribution to the national recovery and deliver Government’s levelling-up agenda, building on our diverse communities, industry strengths and institutions. 

The transport recovery plan builds on existing strategic plans around connectivity, rail, future mobility and mass transit, with a specific focus on the vital role that public transport, and particularly bus services, play in the West Yorkshire economy.  

Working with Experian, the Combined Authority has developed a range of forecasts to model the potential economic impact of COVID-19 on West Yorkshire, which underpin the recovery plans. These show that the pandemic could cost the West Yorkshire economy £12 billion this year and shrink it by up to a third in 2021, with a £2.4 billion impact on the Government's finances.  

The Combined Authority has secured £52.6 million from Government funding made available to accelerate ‘shovel-ready’ projects in response to the pandemic. Further discussions are being held with the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government to agree specific projects to be supported. This funding will help the Combined Authority in its aim to recover from COVID-19 in a way that delivers a more inclusive society and levels up the region's economy. 

The economic and transport recovery plans will be presented to the Combined Authority at its meeting on Monday 27 July.