West Yorkshire councils work together to support business growth

On Monday 8 April 2013 Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will consider proposals for a West Yorkshire Combined Authority and whether to begin consultation with stakeholders on the proposals. The Combined Authority of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield would have funding from Government and be able to make decisions on investment in the region’s economy and transport systems.

Setting up a Combined Authority is a condition of the Leeds City Region City Deal to transfer decision making from Whitehall to the Combined Authority. Responsibilities would include major transport schemes and inward investment to support businesses and create jobs. Other areas of responsibility stay with the individual Local Authorities.

The five local authorities have looked at the benefits of going ahead with the plans and the next stage is to ask partners and stakeholders what they think. Each council’s cabinet will consider the proposals over the next few weeks and if approved, consultation will run until 31 May 2013. The final decision whether to set up a Combined Authority would be made by the Government. The Combined Authority would aim to be established by April 2014.

It is proposed that the Combined Authority would be made up of senior representatives of each of the five councils, plus partner membership by the Local Economic Partnership and the City of York Council. Each West Yorkshire council must agree to the consultation going ahead before further progress can be made.

Councillor Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council said:

“We need to invest in our region to support business growth, attract investment, skills and talent, and create jobs. We believe the best way to achieve that is for the five West Yorkshire councils to combine resources and decision making in these areas. We’re really excited to progress the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund, which seeks to invest £1bn into transport schemes across West Yorkshire and York and the best way to do that is through a Combined Authority.

“Agreeing to this consultation means we can discuss our plans with key partners like the LEP, Chambers of Commerce, the Confederation of British Industry and our local employers.

“We would also ask government departments, MPs and other interested stakeholders for their views if joining together makes us stronger to attract investment into the area.

We will of course establish arrangements for scrutiny and democratic accountability, before councils consider a decision later in the year.”

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