York businessman David Skaith has been chosen to be Labour’s candidate to be Mayor of York and North Yorkshire. Here he sets out what he stands for
I feel truly honoured to have the chance to represent York and North Yorkshire as the first Mayor of the region.
Born in Harrogate, starting my own business in York and now living my wife and two children in Wheldrake, I am wholly committed to making sure the entire region can thrive and prosper.
York and North Yorkshire has a wonderful blend of villages, towns and cities that all bring their own character. Having an elected Mayor will not mean these places lose their identity but it will mean we can work collectively to grow.
I come into this role with one overriding aim. That aim is to help build our communities and put people first.
For years North Yorkshire has been taken for granted by the Conservatives. Under their government we have seen vital services cut, transport become inadequate, community spaces close, lack of quality jobs created, our farming and agriculture sectors suffer, and not enough emphasis put into reducing our carbon output.
It is great to see money has already been received for us to start building new houses. But as well as building new, we need to be retrofitting older properties to ensure we are helping to reduce household energy bills and reducing our carbon output.
We cannot talk about issues facing York and North Yorkshire and not mention transport. We must make it possible for people to travel around the region in a much better way than what we currently see.
A region-wide plan that incorporates public transport, active travel as well as private vehicles is key. We have a bus system that isn’t meeting our needs, roads in appealing state and nowhere near the cycling infrastructure we need to enable more people to use a bike.
There isn’t an endless pot of money and to truly get the most out of this role we are going to have to think and act creatively. It is imperative that the mayor is someone who can bring individuals together, get the right people around the table and can drive change through collectively working.
No one individual has all the answers to the problems we face, it’s when we work together is when we see great things happen.
Spending many years working closely with individuals and organisations in York and North Yorkshire as Chair of York High Street Forum, has given me the insights into how we can move forward and reach our fullest potential.