Mayor urges Chancellor to use upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review to commit to genuine levelling up for West Yorkshire
Calls for greater devolution, certainty over funding and powers, and a commitment to strategic rail infrastructure.
As the West Yorkshire Combined Authority puts forward its submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) ahead of the Autumn Budget on 27 October, the Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for a genuine commitment from Government to level up the region.
In its submission to the Treasury the Combined Authority has outlined the challenges facing West Yorkshire as it continues to respond to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to rebuild the economy.
In addition to requests for this spending round, the Combined Authority has put forward strategic long-term asks to Government to enable West Yorkshire to successfully level-up. Among these are:
- Further devolution of funding and powers - in particular around employment and skills, climate change and net zero carbon, culture, and local transport
- Certainty, stability and fairness in Local Government Funding - specifically a multi-year settlement that provides our local authority partners with clarity and certainty and the ability to plan and allocate and manage resources effectively
- Delivering strategic rail infrastructure to connect West Yorkshire, through schemes such as Northern Powerhouse Rail including a City Centre station in Bradford and full delivery of HS2
- To continue to enable the business voice to be at the heart of regional economic development through LEPs
- Flexibility and long-term certainty of funding allocations to enable strategic long-term plans to be realised
- Enable us to deliver the ‘shovel ready’ schemes included in our submission, such as flood risk management and business support
The Mayor’s letter asks the Chancellor to recognise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on West Yorkshire and the resources that are required to level up and unlock the region’s potential.
At the peak of lockdown 300,000 workers across the region were on furlough and unemployment levels in West Yorkshire almost doubled from pre-pandemic levels.
The Combined Authority believes that significant underinvestment in Yorkshire and the Humber and current constraints on public finance means that the region does not have the resources required to develop and deliver all that is necessary to enable West Yorkshire to meet its full potential.
In her letter to the Chancellor the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said: “As the first Mayor of West Yorkshire, I have a mandate to make a real difference to the lives of people across West Yorkshire.
“Our record on delivery shows that we are successful and can be a trusted partner best placed to respond effectively to the needs of our communities. This can only be achieved through further devolution that gives greater freedom and certainty.
“With more flexibility in the use of funds we can deliver common outcomes that achieve national priorities. At present this is lost in short-term funding and bidding allocations, and we hope that your spending review can address this.”
The letter to HM Treasury can be read here.