THE Government has been asked to back West Yorkshire's "ambitious" post Covid recovery plans.

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Leaders of West Yorkshire Councils and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership set out a targeted approach to four distinctive investment propositions totalling £750 million that address the specific needs of the West Yorkshire economy and its people, with the potential to make a major contribution to the national recovery.

These propositions, developed by the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Board, build on the region’s strengths in digital, manufacturing and entrepreneurship, and the opportunities of the transition to a net zero carbon economy.

If delivered, the Authority says it would unlock benefits for the region and the UK as a whole.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: “We offer a practical vision of the role that West Yorkshire can play, firmly at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Through our £1.8 billion devolution deal, the Government has shown that it understands the value of investing in West Yorkshire, and we have a strong track record of making the most of public spending to generate growth for our region’s economy.

Plan to help West Yorkshire economy recover from pandemic

“Our plan has identified areas where we can build on our region’s unique strengths to make a real difference and contribute to the leveling-up agenda. We want to create a better, more equal economy for the future and a cleaner, sustainable environment, with better jobs, higher skills and the right infrastructure for our communities.”

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Through our locally led recovery plan we believe we have the blueprint to follow, the collective will, and the strong partnerships to deliver. We ask now that Government demonstrates their commitment both to our status as a Mayoral Combined Authority, and to levelling-up, by working with us to see this plan implemented.”

The letter notes that boosting West Yorkshire’s productivity in line with the UK average could add £8.5 billion to the UK economy, while the region has the potential to create 70,000 new jobs in the low carbon economy.

Analysis for the Combined Authority claims that under a worst-case scenario, the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to 58,000 job losses and see the West Yorkshire economy shrink by £12 billion this year alone, and be up to a third smaller in 2021.

This would result in a £2.4 billion impact on Government finances and unemployment potentially rising to 14 per cent.

The Economic Recovery Plan has been developed by the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Board, which has been convened by the Combined Authority to bring together civic, business, trade union, health and third sector leaders.