West Yorkshire Mayor’s Reaction to the Chancellor's Spending Review

“The time for talk is over. It’s time to deliver.”

The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, has welcomed much needed investment in today’s Spending Review, but expressed frustration that genuine action on the government’s 2019 commitment to ‘levelling up’ falls short of their promises.     

In an initial reaction the Chancellor’s Spending Review announcement today, she said:  

Rishi Sunak told parliament “now we must deliver”. I couldn’t agree more.  

But two and a half years since the Prime Minister promised to level up our country, we’ve grown tired of waiting: the Levelling Up white paper has been delayed, yet again; the Integrated Rail Plan was a glaring and disappointing omission.  For working families in West Yorkshire, today has, sadly, made very little difference where it matters most. Their pocket and their prospects.   

Whilst we welcome the government’s local transport plans, with a much needed £830m investment, it’s only part of the answer. There was nothing today on HS2 East, and nothing on Northern Powerhouse Rail, with that crucial stop in central Bradford.  Both projects are vital to improving connections between the great cities of the North and Midlands. We’re told they are coming soon, but the watered-down versions that are rumoured are not acceptable. 

Levelling up cannot just be about transport improvements. We need to invest in people, boosting skills and opportunities to ensure that everyone in our communities can thrive. The four West Yorkshire levelling up schemes announced today are positive news, but more sustained, flexible and longer term funding is vital.   

The Climate Emergency is the challenge of our age and is directly linked to levelling up, yet the Chancellor didn’t prioritise this global crisis in his speech. We need to invest now to move our economy towards Net Zero, supporting business, homes, and communities to make the transition to a new way of living. At COP26 I hope to hear more solid commitments to change: to delay action will only make the bill bigger and our task harder in future.   

Levelling up needs government and regional leaders to work in true partnership. But this desire didn’t come across at the despatch box.  

I have a plan to create a stronger, more inclusive and just economy in West Yorkshire. I’m willing to work in partnership with government to meet our aspirations. The time for talk is over. It is time to deliver.”