Region celebrates investment and jobs

14 January 2019

More than 1,500 jobs were created last year thanks to trade and investment activity by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The region secured 23 successful inward investment projects in 2018 including international law firm Reed Smith, Perform Group, Premier Farnell, GAMA Healthcare and the public sector broadcaster Channel 4.

The investments secured by the Combined Authority and the LEP are expected to have a long term economic impact in excess of £1 billion as well as providing much needed high-skilled jobs.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: "It has been a fantastic year for our region with the Combined Authority and the LEP continuing to support growing businesses, meet the skills needs of employers and attract major investments - all of which make a real difference to local people and our economy."

"Our achievements as a region serve to reinforce why we need to keep pressing the case for further government and commercial investment to ensure Leeds City Region is a place where people can have great career opportunities and an outstanding quality of life."

"We look forward to building on this momentum in 2019, using the spotlight that's now on our region as a result of our Channel 4 win especially to ensure Leeds City Region remains among the top investment destinations in the UK."

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: "Our trade and investment activity is really important. Not only is it driving growth and productivity in the region, it's also bringing new opportunities for local people to access skilled jobs that will enable them to prosper."

"We will continue to bang the drum for Yorkshire and Leeds City Region in 2019 to attract yet more investment and jobs."

Reed Smith opened its Global Shared Services Centre in August at the Platform tech and digital hub in Leeds creating an initial 70 jobs with scope for future further recruitment.

It is one of three legal firms to have invested or expanded in the Leeds City Region in the past year, consolidating the region's position as the leading legal services centre outside of the capital.

Andrew Jenkinson, Partner at Reed Smith, said: "Leeds has a fantastic story to tell. It has the economic growth, job prospects, location, HS2, universities and the higher education establishments."

"We want to create the next generation of lawyers and so we are focusing on tech and digital transformation and Leeds' reputation made it a very easy location choice for us."

Channel 4's move to Leeds, which was announced in October, will bring 300 jobs to the city with a further 1,200 more expected to be created at production companies, such as Workerbee and UKTV, resulting in an anticipated economic boost of around £1.2 billion.

Speaking at the time of the announcement, Sally Joynson, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire, said: "We are delighted with the news that Channel 4 will be moving its national headquarters to Leeds. It's hugely significant for the sector and a validation of the city's production expertise and potential for further growth."

"We look forward to welcoming Channel 4 and working with them to capitalise on the creative opportunities that this bold move brings."

GAMA Healthcare, a world leader in the manufacture and development of infection prevention products for the healthcare sector, opened its new £4 million research and development facility in Halifax, creating 30 new jobs in November.

The state-of-the-art laboratories are used for conducting cutting edge research into microbiology, infection control and analytical chemistry.

In Baildon, global aerospace supplier Produmax increased turnover by 55%, increased headcount by 85% to 75 people, and secured contracts worth over £50 million in 2018. The firm are experts in flight control components and export around 80% of their production to the USA, Canada, Japan, Morocco, the Philippines and Italy.

This year, the LEP established an Investor Development Team to forge relationships with around 100 foreign owned firms and 26 potential investment projects have already been identified.

On an international stage, the LEP also exhibited the region's business opportunities in China, Hong Kong, Dubai, Germany and Spain.

Throughout the Autumn, the LEP has held a series of free events for business leaders designed to help them prepare for Brexit covering key issues including contracts and legal issues, e-commerce and IT, export procedures and customs regulations.

The Leeds City Region covers Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York, and has a £1 billion-plus Local Growth Deal in place to boost jobs and growth across the region. It is home to the UK's largest regional financial centre and has a digital technology sector now worth more than £6.6 billion.