THE POTENTIAL for Yorkshire to create thousands of jobs and businesses will be underlined by a new plan unveiled today as pressure grows on the Chancellor to herald an era of major investment in the North.
Civic leaders will publish a plan showing how spending £28bn on transport, flood defences, broadband, business parks and other infrastructure in South Yorkshire and its neighbouring areas could help generate 70,000 jobs and 6,000 new businesses.
The ‘infrastructure investment plan’ is the first of its kind outside London.
It will be used to showcase the area to potential investors at the MIPIM international property convention in France today but also adds to the growing body of evidence being presented to Chancellor Philip Hammond making the case for accelerating efforts to grow the North economy.
Mr Hammond has already scrapped predecessor George Osborne’s plan to balance the Government’s books by 2020 amid the economic uncertainty triggered by the vote to leave the European Union in June.
He is being heavily lobbied to use his new financial freedom to commit the Government to a major upgrade of infrastracture in the North in his Autumn Statement next month.
Doncaster executive mayor Ros Jones said: “Our region is a great place to do business and we already have a track record of delivering new infrastructure projects that bring economic growth, job creation and new housing.
“Schemes like Great Yorkshire Way, which opened earlier this year, linking Doncaster Sheffield Airport to the motorway network, demonstrate that putting the right infrastructure in place can have a huge impact.
“Since it opened, the airport is enjoying a record year, with new operators and routes, the £500m iPort has already announced three tenants and the first tranche of new homes are being built. It’s a £56m road that is enabling and securing around £1.7bn of new private sector investment.”
The Autumn Statement is being seen as a test of whether Theresa May’s commitment to continue the ‘northern powerhouse’ drive championed by Mr Osborne will be backed by her Government’s actions.
A clear commitment on delivering the HS2 rail line to the North has already been made but council and business leaders hope the Chancellor will go much further.
Richard Wright, executive director of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the Sheffield City Region plan’s ambition but warned delivering would require “true partnership” between public and private sectors and different parts of Yorkshire.
He said: “Local authorities have to support decisions on how to spend the money based on economic return, not geography. The private sector has to create wealth utilising the new resources to trade internationally with new customers, buying new products in new countries.”