Plans see York partner new body to drive economic growth

7 Jun 2013 @ 12.26 pm
| News

Issued by City of York Council

Proposals for a new legal body to manage investment worth £1.5bn in West Yorkshire’s transport and economic infrastructure will be published on Monday, June 17.

Plans include City of York Council as a partner member, to ensure effective links with the wider functional economic area and with the business community.

The investment includes significant funding devolved from Whitehall as part of the recent City Deal. The West Yorkshire Councils will be asked in July to formally agree to the creation of the Combined Authority and submit the plans to Government.

At this time, City of York Council will look to pass a resolution to become a ‘partner/ non-constituent member’ on the Combined Authority. Subject to Parliamentary approval, Government will then establish the new body and devolve significant new powers and funding to it from April 2014.

Cllr James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, added: “Investment in York’s infrastructure – housing, transport, development sites and business accommodation – is crucial to the city’s sustained growth and economic prosperity. Partnering with the West Yorkshire Combined Authoritywill allow us to strengthen the links between our key supply chains and shared markets, and enable vital improvements in the city’s transport and economic infrastructure.

“City of York Council is committed to securing more devolution to the region and this is another important step towards this aim. The establishment of a Combined Authority will represent a significant move forward in the economic ambition for this City, as a major economic player in the region.”

Establishing a Combined Authority is a key requirement of the Leeds City Region City Deal, which was agreed with Government last year. It gives partner councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership greater control over economic investment and decision-making. The transport element alone is expected to deliver 20,000 jobs and grow West Yorkshire’s economy by over £1bn a year.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, Chair of the Association of West Yorkshire Authorities and a member of the Leeds City Region Leaders Board, said: “Setting up this Combined Authority is critical if we want to secure significant national funding and investment, and if we want to ensure that funding decisions that affect our region are taken locally by those that understand local economic conditions and what is needed to stimulate local growth.

“Working together through a Combined Authority will allow us to take a joined up, game-changing approach to transport, investment and the wider economic growth agenda; better connecting people to jobs and creating the environment for businesses to thrive.”

City of York Council has agreed to fund its initial contribution (year one feasibility work) to the Transport Fund through its Economic Infrastructure Fund, a £28.5 million fund set up by the council to provide funding for projects of strategic importance to the city’s ambitions, in creating jobs and growing the economy.

If the proposals are approved, the Combined Authority will start to meet in shadow form from September 2013, in advance of its anticipated formal establishment in April 2014.

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