First meeting for Combined Authority
The inaugural meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority takes place today (Tuesday 1 April 2014), marking the start of a new era in developing the economy and transport infrastructure for the region.
The new body is made up of the five council leaders from West Yorkshire, the council leader of City of York Council, opposition councillors from across the region and Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), linking with the private sector.
Decisions which were formerly taken in Whitehall will now be taken in public in the region, where they will have impact, by locally elected members.
The WYCA will be chaired by Cllr Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council. Resources and decision making powers devolved from government to the region include:
- West Yorkshire & York Transport Fund - a programme of strategic investments in transport infrastructure worth up to £1.6 billion over fifteen years
- Local Growth Fund - £100's millions over the next ten years
- European Structural Investment Funds - supporting strategies for economic growth
- Investments through the Local Transport Plan (around £400m and over ten years)
- Effective use of revenue
Better connectivity, better efficiency
The plan is to deliver better connectivity, connecting people to jobs and products to markets seamlessly; more jobs and better jobs which will contribute to prosperity and lift people out of welfare dependency; more and better housing; private sector growth; and a more resource efficient city region.
Cllr Box said: "The formal establishment of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority is almost upon us and this is an exciting time for West Yorkshire and York. As a Shadow Board, we have already started work and have been determined to get the new arrangements right so all six districts play an equally critical role in driving economic growth across the sub-region. We are confident that our proposals will achieve this and that Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York will all thrive as a result."
The inauguration of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, comes a day after the submission of the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan. The Combined Authority will be the accountable body for the funding from the Local Growth Fund, providing a robust governance framework and democratic accountability to decision-making, and will work alongside the LEP to deliver the Local Growth Deal for West Yorkshire and the entire Leeds City Region.