Senior councillors have recently endorsed nine pivotal concepts aimed at fostering inclusive growth, centred on individuals, locality, and efficiency. This initiative marks the next phase of the Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy.
The new strategy, which outlines a blueprint until 2030, is designed to address the hurdles confronting Leeds and align with the council’s aspiration to be the Best City. This encompasses tackling issues like poverty, inequality, subpar health, and fulfilling our zero-carbon commitments. It builds upon the preceding successful strategy that propelled inclusive growth in Leeds from 2018 to 2023.
People constitute the bedrock of any city’s economy, and a key facet of this strategy is the ambition to combat challenges associated with poverty, inequality, and the swiftly evolving labour market. It also underscores the importance of tailoring education and training to local requirements, aligning with the Leeds Future Talent Plan launched last year.
Prioritising people and their needs is the second theme of the strategy, emphasising the council’s intention to invest in locales and transportation for a sustainable economy and a more eco-friendly future. This endeavours to foster connectivity and bolster communities, ensuring both city and local centres flourish, and that jobs and residences are appropriately situated.
This vision is exemplified by the efforts centred around the South Leeds Gateway, connecting healthcare and life science assets at St James University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary to Morley via the city centre. This entails a suite of projects worth over £2 billion and commitments for over 15,000 new residences.
The ultimate theme revolves around enhancing productivity and facilitating business innovation and expansion in the face of change. Realising the council’s vision for innovation is imperative for a greener and more inclusive future. The strategy outlines how this will be accomplished by supporting a diverse array of innovators and entrepreneurs with the potential to cultivate high-growth enterprises.
The council will persist in its investment in the city’s innovation infrastructure, including the Innovation Arc, to establish a globally significant hub. This space, spanning over a million square feet, will congregate entrepreneurs, startups, and businesses to exchange ideas and enhance access to capital, thereby expediting growth.
Businesses will continue to receive support to augment productivity and flourish amid transformation. The strategy also delineates how the council will promote Leeds as a global hub for people to visit, reside, work, and invest.
Leeds boasts a burgeoning digital community, and the strategy elucidates how this will be bolstered by positioning Leeds as a digital city and nurturing growth in the sector through the development of requisite infrastructure and talent.
The strategy, founded on the principle of collaboration, builds on the success of the Leeds Anchors Network, comprising the city’s largest employers, by extending the concept to encompass Business Anchors.
The Business Anchors network will unify major enterprises operating in Leeds, dedicated to collaboratively fostering economic growth that benefits all.
Despite the challenges of the past five years, Leeds has already witnessed achievements in propelling inclusive growth. The preceding strategy articulated the council’s aspirations to become the preferred destination for prominent UK institutions and global corporations, resulting in the city attracting the new UK Infrastructure Bank, Channel 4, Burberry, and Cognizant, all of which now call Leeds home.
The strategy is anchored in the council’s commitment to greening the economy and bolstering businesses and the city’s resilience to ensure continued prosperity, as both the city and council strive towards achieving zero carbon.
For a detailed overview of the Inclusive Growth Strategy 2023-2030, please refer to the following link: https://www.inclusivegrowthleeds.com/sites/default/files/2023-09/Inclusive%20Growth%20Strategy.pd
Speaking ahead of the strategy’s launch Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, said; “Developing an economy that works for all is crucial to ensuring we can meet the challenges facing Leeds, from tackling poverty and inequality to meeting the climate emergency.
“Success will require a collective effort from the public, private and third sectors in Leeds working together. I firmly believe in the power of collaboration as shown by our response to the Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crises, which highlights the impact of our ‘Team Leeds’ approach.
“The Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy and its nine ‘big ideas’ will reduce inequality in our city and help to ensure Leeds is a compassionate city with a strong economy that provides opportunities for all, while also playing our part in meeting the climate emergency.”