Response to the Chancellor's economic statement

In response to the Chancellor’s statement on the Government’s economic response to COVID-19, the Combined Authority is calling on the Government for more localised measures to address specific needs of the region and work with us to ensure the region can make its full contribution to national recovery.

Responding to the Chancellor’s statement on the Government’s economic response to COVID-19, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on West Yorkshire’s economy and the household finances of its communities, with an 87% increase in those claiming out of work benefits and a 67% rise in the number of young people claiming Universal Credit. It is against that reality that these proposals should be measured.

“The Chancellor’s recognition that we need a green economic recovery is welcome but with 700,000 homes requiring energy efficiency measures in order to for West Yorkshire to meet its net-zero carbon target these pledges are only a starting point. Our experience with apprenticeships suggests the incentives on offer will be insufficient for many employers and we were hoping to see more detail of the National Skills Fund so that we can do more to help people who need retraining as the jobs market changes.

“We have already taken extensive steps through the pandemic to support hundreds of business and provide emergency help for the bus network. We will be bringing forward the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Plan shortly and hope the Government will work with us to ensure the region can make its full contribution to the national recovery.”

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead, said:

“Investment in transport infrastructure will be essential to West Yorkshire’s emergency from the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting a long-term green recovery that delivers for all our communities but it was notably absent from this statement.

“The Government should urgently review how major schemes including HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, the upgrade to the TransPennine line and others can be accelerated to bring benefits to West Yorkshire more quickly and support skilled jobs and training.”