Development of the Yorkshire Economy

Transforming Yorkshire supports the development of the Yorkshire economy.

We are all familiar with the statistics that Yorkshire has a population of over 5 million people and an economy worth £1112BN a year. Whilst this economic statistic looks fairly impressive at first glance, in terms of being part of one of the most developed economies in the world, the fact is that Yorkshire’s performance is very weak.

Yorkshire cannot afford to pay for all the public services it needs. Therefore, it cannot hope to pay for all the services its people might desire. If Yorkshire was a separate state, it would be faced with several choices: reduce public spending; increase taxes; or improve economic performance. It could also choose a combination of these actions.

Reducing public spending after a period of austerity when many public services are barely functioning is not really an option. Increasing taxes to cover the cost of services would mean such large increases that they would probably not be acceptable to the public. Improving economic performance is really the only practical alternative but the scale of the required improvements is so great that the challenge would be considerable.

The One Yorkshire Financial Case indicates that by adopting the One Yorkshire devolution solution and taking various actions outlined in the report, the Yorkshire economy could grow by £30BN over the next 30 years. Frankly, this is nowhere near enough. In order to pay its way the Yorkshire economy should be running at around £160BN per year now.

Years of under investment in the Yorkshire economy have taken their toll. Massive investment will be required to rectify the current situation but where is this going to come from? There are bright specs out there, the proposed train factory in Goole is just one example. There are many more; far too many to list here. On the other hand, some areas and sectors of the economy are not faring very well and the overall economy is not expanding fast enough to provide opportunities for all.

Even if we had sufficient investment, do we have the skills to satisfy the requirements of employers?

Transforming Yorkshire will be working with others to try to enhance the region’s economic prospects. All and any support is welcome but the government’s acceptance of the One Yorkshire initiative would be a large step in the right direction.

Yorkshire must be able to pay its own way. Subsidies from the richer parts of the UK can no longer be relied upon as the overall UK economy is also not now performing adequately. People must realize that government subsidies are drying up and that, if this continues, the current period of austerity will be looked back on as a period of sublime prosperity. People should not be complacent about this.

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