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Regional way is still the key to success
Yorkshire Forward has been grabbing the headlines of late with the enforced £40m budget cuts and a question mark hanging over the agency’s existence.
Times are very uncertain, but one thing is for sure, we know we will have less funding and Yorkshire Forward will not continue in its current form.
Last week the coalition Cabinet visited Bradford, highlighting the city’s importance, having been chosen to hold the first on-the-road meeting.
While in our city, the new Government set out plans for Local Enterprise Partnerships that will bring together councils and business, replacing Regional Development Agencies.
The debate now is about what we do – that is, the function of the organisation, not the form it should come in.
Yorkshire Forward has a talented and highly-effective workforce making a real difference in our towns, cities and rural areas, by supporting businesses, helping people get the right skills to gain employment and improving places.
Councils and business leaders are being asked to consider forming new Local Enterprise Partnerships that can provide strategic leadership in their local areas, and create the right environment for business success and economic growth.
This is their opportunity to put forward their views on having a regional function.
Yorkshire Forward has already met with local authority and business leaders from across Yorkshire and Humber to discuss the future of economic development of the region.
A clear majority agree on the need to continue to support a new Yorkshire and Humber-wide body working on behalf of the region.
What’s the alternative to a regional body? Can Local Enterprise Partnerships offer the same sense of leadership, joined-up thinking and voice into Whitehall, which we have had, and which in the past had been detrimental to Yorkshire and Humber’s success?
I believe a regional approach is vital if our beloved region is to succeed in the economically-challenging times ahead.