Business leaders and young people quiz Deputy PM on region�s future
On the day that Scotland went to the polls to vote on independence, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) co-hosted an event with the Deputy Prime Minister to discuss the prospects for Northern devolution.
Young people and businesses from across the City Region – including students from four schools in Wakefield and Leeds - were invited to the debate, held at PwC in Leeds as part of the government’s ‘Northern Futures’ consultation.
Some of the issues put forward during the lively, hour-long discussion included the possibility of a Northern parliament, the role of major transport schemes such as high-speed rail in boosting Northern competitiveness, and opportunities to boost skills and growth in key industries such as the video gaming and tech sectors.
Speaking at the start of the event, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said: “We are starting a new chapter in our nation’s history. The old ways of centralisation are out of date and anachronistic. People want to take control of their own destinies.”
LEP Chair, Roger Marsh, commented: “For many years we have knocked at the door of government to call for greater support to unlock our City Region’s potential. But now, the door appears ajar and we have a chance to put forward our region’s case for better, more sustainable growth. This opportunity, offered by all of the main political parties in different guises, presents a chance to shape the future of the North in a mould set by the people of the North, not by Whitehall - an opportunity not to be missed.
“I am delighted that so many young people were able to take part in today’s debate. The North’s future is their future, and we must all take steps now to ensuring that future is as bright and prosperous as possible.”
The government’s Northern Futures consultation is open until 17 October, and will culminate in a Northern Futures summit in Leeds on 6 November. Leeds City Region businesses and residents can take part in the consultation, and register to attend the summit at http://northernfutures.dialogue-app.com/ You can also tweet us your views at @LeedsCityRegion
Photo: Look North, Yorkshire