Memorandum by Leeds City Region (RG 68)
The following narrative forms part of the Leeds
City Region Business Case to the Rt. Hon David Miliband MP.
"Manchester and Leeds are becoming successful
city region economies, challenging other major European Cities
for investment and jobs and leading the growth of the North of
Absolute levels of economic output are highest in
the Manchester and Leeds City Regions . . ."
Moving Forward: The Northern Way, First Growth
Strategy Report, September 2004
The Leeds city region with its proven economic
growth record and its concentration of key assets already plays
a significant role in the economy of the wider region and within
the context of the Northern Way Growth Strategy. The city region
accounts for 20% of the population; 21% of the business stock
and 21% of the GVA of the three northern regions that make up
the Northern Way. Over the next 10 years the Leeds city region
is projected to create 65,300 net additional jobs, representing
93% of the jobs projected for Yorkshire and Humber Region as a
whole. The sheer size of the city region economy means that boosting
its dynamism will lead to economic impact locally, regionally
The city region is recognised, along with Manchester
city region, as playing a key role within the Northern Way Growth
Strategy. If the Leeds city region fails to achieve its full potential,
there is little prospect of achieving local, regional or national
job and wealth creation targets, and just as crucially there is
no serious and sustainable counter balance in England to London
and the South East.
The Leeds City Region covers; Barnsley, Bradford,
Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield
and York. The extent of the city region was defined following
extensive research carried out over the last five years (CURDS
1999; Llewelyn Davies, Steer Davies Gleave, Jones Lang LaSalle
and the University of Leeds 2002; ODPM and Northern Way Secretariat
2004; Local Futures 2004). The functional Leeds city region therefore
consists of 10 local authority districts and cuts across three
existing sub regions.
Early recognition of the importance of city
region collaboration led to a Leeds City Region Economic Summit
being held in November 2004. This event brought together around
200 stakeholders to discuss the economic growth potential of the
The City Region Leaders, Chief Executives and
Yorkshire Forward (the Regional Development Agency) met separately
during the Summit and made a commitment to work together.
Significant progress has been made in city region
collaboration since the Summit:
a Concordat has been developed which
has guided partnership working to date;
a first iteration of the City Region
Development Programme (CRDP) has been prepared and submitted to
the Northern Way Secretariat;
themed groups have been established
to lead on different aspects of the CRDP; and
work is underway to develop fully
evidenced proposals for a second reiteration of the CRDP which
will be submitted to influence the Comprehensive Spending Review
The current partnership includes the 10 local
authorities that make up the city region, plus North Yorkshire
County Council by virtue of their strategic role in transport
planning and economic development.
As the complexity of the work has increased
and the city region has moved from analysis and strategy development
towards project delivery, a number of barriers to implementation
have become apparent.
Current arrangements are not able, at least
consistently to prioritise the needs of the city region. The current
arrangements for sub regional analysis and delivery also constrain
the ability for developing interventions that work within existing
local labour and other markets to spread prosperity more evenly
across the city region.
Additionally, there is currently no mechanism
for the city region to engage and input into Regional Funding
Allocationsa potential flaw given the city region provides
the functionally coherent unit for analysis and developing interventions
for the key drivers of economic growth and that Regional Funding
Allocations are concerned with "joining up" transport,
economic development and housing funding.
The City Region Leaders met in Huddersfield
on 16 December 2005 to discuss how they could better work together.
They recognised the progress that had been made in the last twelve
months, particularly in developing a greater understanding of
the complexity of the city region economy and the types of issues
that need to be addressed to improve economic performance. However,
they acknowledged that it is now an appropriate time to consider
the next steps in developing collaboration.
Leaders recognised that there exist a number
of difficulties with current economic working arrangements, which
are likely to constrain the city region's ability to operate as
a single economic entity and hence inhibit delivery of the CRDP
and ultimately the achievement of a step change in economic performance.
To tackle such barriers, Leaders committed to
stepping up their collaboration and agreed to hold bi-monthly
meetings to provide political leadership, aimed at promoting the
enhanced economic competitiveness of the city region.
Leaders agreed to move towards arrangements
aimed at promoting greater strategic alignment of strategy and
To align activity directed at the
economic competitiveness agenda which will necessitate a review
of a range of organisations and their associated budgets. An early
priority will be a discussion focusing on the potential for greater
alignment of Yorkshire Forwards Investment Planning Boundaries;
Passenger Transport Executive Boundaries (recognising the WYPTE
can broadly work across the Leeds City Region within its existing
powers); Learning and Skills Council and Housing Strategies.
A formalisation and widening of the
existing voluntary arrangements.
Priority will be given to engaging
more widely with stakeholders (as acknowledged in the existing
Concordat) and consideration will be given to the creation of
a city region wide Local Strategic Partnership.
At this point the ambition of the local authority
partners is to address and seek to resolve issues arising from
the current dislocation between various funding silos; and to
press for rationalisation of the number of institutions and partnerships
working on the economic competitiveness agenda.
Leader of Kirklees Council, Councillor Kath
Pinnock, chaired the meeting and said:
"I hope the agreed approach will provide
greater policy and fiscal focus on the city region as well as
provide for greater democratic accountability and political leadership
over the economic agenda".
Leaders request that decisions taken
by relevant Departments of Government, which have an impact on
the economy, should be calculated to promote the competitiveness
of functioning city regions.
Leaders request that Government support
the propositions contained within our CRDP through the 2007 Comprehensive
Spending Review and recognise the economic potential of the Leeds
Leaders request that Government give
close consideration to new arrangements for managing the local
transport system at a city region level.