The inaugural West Yorkshire Economic Growth Conference heard from the region’s key business and political leaders about how West Yorkshire can harness its economic potential to ensure it competes on the international stage.

Over 350 delegates heard from Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council as she gave the key note speech about the solid foundations on which economic growth can be built.

Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “Our region has so much to be proud of and I firmly believe that we need to shout much more loudly about our achievements. As we enter a period of profound change nationally however, there are a number of challenges and opportunities that we must work together to address regionally if we are to ensure that our economy remains globally competitive and our people have the best possible quality of life.”

In her speech Cllr Hinchcliffe talked about Leeds City Region’s enormous economic potential, and the three key challenges – improved productivity – inclusive growth – the ambitious approach to devolution that has alluded Yorkshire for too long – that business and the public sector must address together if the region is to achieve this potential.

Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India, spoke in West Yorkshire for the first time and set out why a two-way investment relationship between Indian and British Businesses is essential for companies in both economies to spur stronger export led growth.

Panel sessions throughout the day explored on how each of the areas of transport, housing, skills and devolution can help West Yorkshire deliver further economic growth.

Speakers on the transport panel included HS2 Ltd, Transport for the North, First West Yorkshire and Leeds Bradford Airport, who discussed the planned investment in transport infrastructure covering road, rail and air. Transport for the North explained that statutory status was in the process of gaining parliamentary approval and is expected to be in place by next April.

Devolution was a key topic of discussion throughout the event. Businesses were encouraged to support political leaders in getting a “One Yorkshire” devolution deal agreed to help the region complete globally.

The Housing panel debated how more affordable housing can unlock economic growth and the Skills panel included discussion about how businesses and educational institutions can bridge the skills gap and retain talent in the region.

Keith Griffiths, MD of Built Environment Networking and organiser of the event said:

“The key message coming from the event is that West Yorkshire is already delivering significant economic activity through effective partnership working. However, there is vast potential for the region to elevate this growth.

“Our speakers have discussed and debated how housing, transport, skills and devolution all have a role in unlocking this potential, particularly ahead of country’s departure from the EU.

“This event has enabled leading figures in the political and business worlds to discuss and debate the most topical issues of the time. I look forward to working with everyone to help deliver on this ambition.”

Built Environment Networking plan to run the event in West Yorkshire again in 2018.

For further coverage from the event, follow @WestYorksGrowth


For further information please contact: Victoria Starkey via email on or call 0113 457 0050

Editors Notes

  • The headline sponsor for the event was Eversheds Sutherland, the international law firm with offices in Yorkshire and across the UK.
  • Sponsors also include e-on, Robertson, Leeds Beckett University, Wates, Kier, City Fibre and Translate
  • A full line up of speakers can be found on the Conference website here: