Leeds City Region highlights Budget digital opportunity

26 October 2018

The Leeds City Region is asking the Chancellor to recognise the importance of digital investment when he sets out the Budget on Monday.

Ambitious plans covering transport, skills, flood defences and business support have been submitted to the Government in the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and West Yorkshire Combined Authority's input to the Budget.


Commitment to HS2

The Budget submission asks for a renewed commitment to delivering HS2 to the region by 2033 and its proper integration with Northern Powerhouse Rail including a station serving Bradford city centre.

The document proposes significant investment in skills to provide specialist technical and vocational training and support to promote apprenticeships.

The submission sets out reforms to help improve delivery and secure better outcomes including proposing long-term funding budgets for infrastructure investment.


Better standard of living

The investment is designed to drive inclusive growth which delivers a better standard of living to all the region's communities.

The proposals also include a recommendation the Government should give digital investment the same strategic importance as other types of infrastructure spending along with a call for additional funding to support the rollout of full-fibre and 5G.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: "We continue to make the case for significant spending on transport, including a continuing commitment to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail with a Bradford city centre station, as one of the keys to unlocking our region's economic potential but we also believe it is important the Government treats digital as strategic infrastructure.

"Digital infrastructure is as essential to the future well-being of our communities as good road and rail links and it is time this was recognised in the way the country approaches investment in infrastructure."

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and Member of the Combined Authority, said: "The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to underline its commitment to HS2 and our connected plans to deliver thousands of new jobs and our masterplan for Leeds Station.

"We also want to see backing for our digital ambitions, building on existing investment to support the rollout of new technologies including 5G."

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: "This is not about choosing between spending on one form of infrastructure or another but ensuring that digital investment is treated with same degree of importance.

"We are investing to ensure homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband and through our Discover Digital programme we are giving people the skills they need to benefit from the digital revolution."

Find out about our #DiscoverDigital work with businesses across Leeds City Region to help and support people into roles with digital skills