One of Leeds’ key business groups has met with the Leader of the Council to discuss how to support economic growth and development throughout this year.
The Leadership Group of Leeds Chamber of Commerce met with Cllr James Lewis recently to discuss the city’s opportunities and threats going forward, and how to maintain the reputation as one of the most attractive places in the North to invest and be in business. Both sides later agreed that the meeting was a good chance to exchange thoughts and views.
Cllr Lewis told the group that he believed that the challenges and hurdles facing the city on the back of the pandemic were more than offset by the advantages it has, combined with the plans that the Council has for continued growth and development. Several points were made to the Leader by group members keen to support the local authority’s plans.
The importance of a strong and attractive city centre – despite the growth and continuation of remote working – was stressed, along with adequate office and meeting space. The planned city centre road improvement schemes and recently cancelled transport projects could affect operations and investment prospects, said some of the group. The businesses and Cllr Lewis both agreed that the Government’s commitment to ‘levelling up’ – already undermined by the announcements in November on the Integrated Rail Plan – needs to deliver for West Yorkshire in a long-term, sustainable way.
The Chamber’s Head of Policy & Representation, Mark Goldstone, said afterwards:
“Meetings such as these are important for both businesses and key Council personnel to exchange ideas and views. The business community is a key driver of economic growth, attractor of inward investment and of course a job creator. Their needs and concerns should be listened to, and so we’re grateful to Cllr Lewis for coming along to hear what they had to say. Conversely, we want the Council to know that the Chamber and its members stand willing to contribute however we can to help deliver schemes that support the future growth and development of the city and its economy.”
West Yorkshire was hit at the back end of 2021 by the Government announcement that neither HS2 nor Northern Powerhouse Rail will come to the region. The two major transport schemes were seen locally as not only enhancing connectivity but also acting as major regeneration boosters for both Leeds and Bradford. Both cities, plus stakeholders such as the Chambers of Commerce, are now looking at alternatives to the two stalled projects.
West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has Leadership Groups for the three geographical areas it covers – Bradford, Leeds and York & North Yorkshire – to support and develop it Policy & Representation programme, that enables the organisation to lobby and campaign on behalf of its members.