Leading a region like West Yorkshire needs someone who’ll listen and act on the people’s priorities. That’s why I’ve been to hustings or events and met people across the region and used my experience of local government and working with business to be clear on what I’ll deliver for our region:
Get people into work by creating decent local jobs - working with employers to create new apprenticeships. I’ll bang the drum for local businesses, encouraging more to move here and I’ll set up a new Mayors Business Board to hear directly from business about the challenges and way we can work together. And I’ll secure extra investment to regenerate our towns and cities so that we can ensure they’re vibrant places to live, work, grow up and grow old.
I will deliver new Opportunity Areas for West Yorkshire, bringing together schools, colleges, universities, business, the third sector and others to improve life chances and social mobility so that young people leave school with the skills they need but also so we bring together of best and brightest to deliver skills training. And in these areas this will allow us to deliver new housing, transport links and regeneration opportunities too.
People have complained to me about our broadband connections and they’re right to do so, we need digital connectivity more than ever. That’s why I want to set the ambition to have West Yorkshire as the first gigabit connected region and start delivering that straight away.
And there will be no new local taxes. The Mayor has the power to levy new taxes, I won’t do this as I believe with a £1billion budget we should spend our money better asking people to pay a penny more. And that means more budget transparency, improved scrutiny and better accountability in spending so the public are confident their money is being spent well.
More police, with extra powers and equipment like tasers - so we can get tough on crime. The Government has already recruited 390 more officers; I’ll work to get even more on the beat protecting our most vulnerable and improving town and rural policing. This means tackling crimes like violent crime, drugs, burglary and anti-social behaviour. And I’ll bring forward local ward based road safety plans to bring agencies together to make our road safer and new “justice reports” so that people know not just the crimes that have taken place but what’s happened to the criminals and the sentences doled out.
Public transport when and where you need it, and a plan to cut congestion - it’s time to join up our public transport, so you can get a seat on a bus or train that runs on time. I want public transport that’s clean, green and on time. I want to ensure we deliver a viable, efficient and future proofed mass transit system, creating transport hubs and improving connections for our towns and rural communities so that they don’t feel cut off or miss out on new opportunities and work across local authority boundaries to deliver what works best. I want to see schemes like NPR and HS2 delivered so we can create jobs, secure investment and improve transport links placing West Yorkshire at the heart of transport connectivity. And I’ll cut congestion for drivers, holding councils to account and getting extra government funds for roads.
And no congestion charge for West Yorkshire. They hit the lowest earners and those on fixed incomes hardest so we won’t have one for West Yorkshire.
Protecting our environment - I’ve spent a decade as a Councillor fighting for our greenbelt and as Mayor I’ll continue to protect our greenbelt. We need to bring forward brownfield land first and regenerate sites before the greenbelt is considered. New homes will use the latest green technology to reduce energy generation and use, better transport links and creating new jobs not just in construction but green technology jobs too. And I’ll deliver the Northern Forest here in West Yorkshire planting more trees, creating woodland and new habitats. We also need to protect our rivers, streams, canals and watercourses, not just for flood prevention, but to ensure that our water is clean and I’ll do that so West Yorkshire leads on this.
Are rural areas are far too often forgotten, so I’ll deliver a new rural strategy for West Yorkshire to ensure that the views of farmers, rural communities, businesses and agencies are heard and involved not just in the planning but the delivery too.