Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield Local Authorities are consulting on a proposal to establish a combined authority for West Yorkshire. The combined authority would cover a population of 2.2 million, creating one of the largest functional economic areas in the UK outside of London.
A recent review argues that West Yorkshire’s potential for economic growth isn’t being realised and the economic performance of the area isn’t improving – lack of inward investment, low business start-up rates and a lack of public sector investment in infrastructure have all been quoted as contributors to a lack of growth. The report concludes that for its size and demographic composition, West Yorkshire is not punching its weight economically and has been falling behind the UK average.
A combined authority has emerged as the favoured solution for improving economic conditions across West Yorkshire, being well-placed to make area-wide decisions for economic development, regeneration and transport – although who would then be responsible for footpaths and rights of way is currently unclear (and something that we are now pursuing).
You can read the full proposal on the Government’s website here which also has details of how to respond as a member of the public.