Extra powers will strengthen our economy and tackle inequalities says West Yorkshire Mayor

Mayor Tracy Brabin has said that further devolved powers will grow West Yorkshire’s economy ahead of this week’s Spring Budget statement.

14 March 2023

Further devolved powers will grow West Yorkshire’s economy and tackle inequalities amid the cost-of-living crisis says Mayor Tracy Brabin ahead of this week’s Spring Statement.

In a letter to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt sent ahead of the budget, she set out what the region needs to grow our economy and tackle inequalities, improving people’s lives. 

Mayor Brabin has called for West Yorkshire to be next in line for a trailblazer devolution deal, bringing full devolution of all adult employment, skills and careers funding, helping people into a new job or better job. Reports ahead of the budget suggest the government have agreed similar trailblazer deals with West Midlands Combined Authority and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.  

She also called for energy support to extended for both households and businesses in the context of the crippling cost of living crisis, backing recent calls from financial broadcaster, Martin Lewis and hundreds of charities.

The Mayor urged the Chancellor to use Wednesday’s budget to re-commit his government’s support to the West Yorkshire mass transit system, reminding him of his party’s manifesto commitment to do so.  The budget announcement also comes following news that West Yorkshire is one of the eight places in England shortlisted for an investment zone – a move which has been welcome by the mayor.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said:

“Wednesday’s Spring Statement is an opportunity for government to commit to further devolution to Mayoral Combined Authorities, and I want the Chancellor to back West Yorkshire’s ambitions and make sure we’re next in line for a trailblazer deal.

“But at a time when many of our communities are anxious and stressed about the cost of living crisis, the government must also extend vital support for households and businesses, so people are not pushed further into poverty.

“And we need the government to follow through on their promises. This means re-committing to the mass transit system in West Yorkshire, helping us modernise our public transport network and provide a better service for passengers.”

Speaking about West Yorkshire being shortlisted for an investment zone, she added:

“This is positive news, I’m delighted the Government has recognised the strength of our innovation by choosing to work with us to deliver an investment zone.”

In the letter, the Mayor called for:

  • West Yorkshire to be included in the next wave of negotiations to further devolution of funding and powers, so that the region is next in line for a trailblazer deal.
  • Energy Support to be extended for both households and businesses, as well as keeping energy bill support at the current rate.
  • A modernisation of bus funding to make the market more sustainable and provide a better quality service to passengers.
  • The government to back ambitions for a fairer, stronger and better-connected north, committing to funding for West Yorkshire’s Mass Transit system.  
  • The government to put funding for local public services on a sustainable footing, not forcing councils to push up council tax amid a cost of living crisis.