Mayor Tracy Brabin and West Yorkshire’s five council leaders are set to launch five new “regional missions” today, targeting key areas such as jobs, housing, transport, climate, and crime. The initiatives, part of “The West Yorkshire Plan,” aim to address issues including insecure work, expensive housing, unreliable public transport, the effects of climate change, and crime.

The launch event, taking place in Leeds on Friday, 16th May, will see Mayor Brabin unveil the comprehensive long-term solutions designed to tackle these pressing challenges. Developed in partnership with the public, private, and charity sectors, these missions will drive substantial investments until 2040, forming part of a broader strategy to create a “brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”

Accompanying Mayor Brabin on stage will be West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe OBE, as well as council leaders Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Cllr Jane Scullion, Cllr Shabir Pandor, Cllr James Lewis, and Cllr Denise Jeffery, representing the councils of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield respectively.

During the event, the Deputy Mayor and council leaders will discuss each of the five missions in detail:

  1. A prosperous West Yorkshire, built on an inclusive economy with well-paid jobs.
  2. A happy West Yorkshire, full of great places and healthy communities.
  3. A well-connected West Yorkshire, held together by a strong transport system.
  4. A sustainable West Yorkshire, rich with greener lives and communities.
  5. A safe West Yorkshire, free of the fear of crime so everyone can flourish.

Mayor Tracy Brabin expressed her enthusiasm for the plan, stating, “These five missions will form the building blocks of a stronger, happier, better-connected, greener, and safer West Yorkshire. Together, they will focus minds and allow us to transform lives across the region, as we work to deliver a brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”

She emphasised the need for long-term solutions to address significant challenges faced by the region’s residents, including economic opportunities, affordable housing, reliable public transport, energy costs, and crime. Mayor Brabin also highlighted the success of devolution in West Yorkshire over the past two years, which has delivered well-paid jobs, affordable homes, cheaper bus fares, greener communities, and safer streets. However, she emphasised the potential for even greater achievements through collaboration and a clear plan for the future.

Mission one, focusing on a prosperous West Yorkshire, aims to raise productivity and living standards, eradicate child poverty, and ensure the availability of good-quality work for diverse communities. Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Business, Economy, and Innovation Committee, commented on this mission, stating, “Economic growth is the backbone of our vision to build a brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.” He emphasised the importance of partnership with the private sector to create favourable conditions for business growth and investment, ultimately leading to better and fairer jobs for the region.

Cllr James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Employment and Skills Committee spoke about the mission to tackle in-work poverty in West Yorkshire. He stressed the importance of secure, well-paid jobs accessible to all residents, along with lifelong learning and flexible opportunities. Cllr Lewis highlighted the success of upskilling and re-training initiatives, which have been tailored to local labor market needs in collaboration with businesses. He expressed confidence that further devolution of skills and flexible funding would significantly enhance their efforts.

Mission two focuses on a happy West Yorkshire, with plans to improve access to culture and green spaces, deliver affordable housing, and align healthy life expectancy with the national average. Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Place, Regeneration, and Housing Committee, emphasised the significance of safe and affordable housing as a fundamental right. She outlined plans to partner with Homes England and housing providers, aiming to deliver hundreds of thousands of sustainable and high-quality homes by 2040. Additionally, Cllr Jeffery highlighted investments in the creative sector to enhance the region’s vibrancy and attractiveness.

Mission three aims to create a well-connected West Yorkshire by making buses more reliable and affordable, establishing a fully-integrated mass transit system, and promoting active travel for short journeys. Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, stressed the importance of a modern, integrated public transport system. The plans involve bringing buses under greater public control, developing a tap-in, tap-out mass transit system, and providing affordable and user-friendly options for active travel. These initiatives aim to encourage people to choose public transport, reducing reliance on cars.

Mission four centres around building a sustainable West Yorkshire by achieving a Net Zero carbon economy by 2038. The focus will be on growing the green economy through cleaner transport, energy-efficient homes, and environmentally-friendly businesses. Cllr Jane Scullion, Leader of Calderdale Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Climate, Energy, and Environment Committee, highlighted West Yorkshire’s commitment to reaching Net Zero ahead of the government’s target. She emphasised the urgent need to invest in clean transport, renewable energy, and green jobs to mitigate the damaging effects of climate change, enhance air quality, and reduce energy costs for residents and businesses.

Mission five addresses the goal of creating a safe West Yorkshire by reducing neighborhood crime, decreasing reoffending rates, enhancing confidence in the police, and improving safety for women and girls. Deputy Mayor Alison Lowe OBE, responsible for Policing and Crime, emphasised that crime affects fairness in society. She stressed the importance of addressing issues such as violence against women and girls, neighbourhood crime, and reoffending. Measures include recruiting more police officers, investing in victims’ services, and empowering communities through seized criminal assets.

The launch of these five regional missions marks a significant step towards building a brighter future for West Yorkshire. The commitment of local leaders, combined with collaborative efforts from various sectors, is expected to drive positive change and transform the region into a prosperous, happy, well-connected, sustainable, and safe community for all.