Support for local business
I will support local businesses and be a champion, both nationally and internationally, for our regional economy.
As Mayor, I will continue to press the Government for a Regional Recovery Fund to build a post-COVID economy and society. I will refresh the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Plan and use this as the basis to secure support for a recovery across West Yorkshire, tailored to the specific needs of our communities.
I will establish a Co-operative Development and Community Wealth Building Unit to support the growth of co-operative, social enterprise and worker-owned businesses.
I will explore the establishment of a West Yorkshire Community Bank, to fill the gap and provide loans to sole traders, microbusinesses, and small and medium enterprises.
I will establish a Manufacturing Task Force, using a social partnership model with businesses and trade unions. This will take West Yorkshire’s world class, modern manufacturing sector forward with a plan to boost exports, and ensure young people have the skills to become the engineers and designers of the future.
Having campaigned to get research and development (R&D) tax relief for creative industries, I will focus on ensuring we close the R&D spending gap in comparison to London and the South East. I will establish the West Yorkshire Innovation Network to seed organisations in the next generation of our region’s industrial base of creative, green, hi-tech and resilient jobs. The West Yorkshire Innovation Network will spark an entrepreneurial revolution by bringing together business support services from across the region.
Alongside the Digital Academy, I will establish a West Yorkshire Digital Skills Partnership to develop digital skills programmes, tackle digital exclusion and maximise the potential of the region. I will ensure Digital Enterprise funding is channelled to supporting small and medium businesses. I will seek Government support for a Digital Infrastructure Fund and roll out digital inclusion schemes across the whole region.
I will also explore other sectors to establish task groups including Information Technology, Financial Services, Green Technology, and Health and Life Sciences. The co-operative, social enterprise and charitable sectors will be invited to take part, and the Mayoral Co-operative Development and Community Wealth Building Unit will explore a third sector task group.