People will reap the benefits of a new partnership between West Yorkshire councils, said Kirklees chief executive Adrian Lythgo.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority formally launched yesterday and the Kirklees Council boss has been seconded to the authority for 12 months as Head of Paid Service, however it will be a dual role.
The Authority has been formed to spearhead economic growth and transport investment in the region with a £1.6bn transport fund and potentially hundreds of millions from a Local Growth Fund over the next ten years, creating an extra 62,000 jobs as the Authority works closely with industry experts on the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Mr Lythgo said of his secondment: “I’ll be doing both, it’s more of a dual role. I don’t see this taking away any more time than when I was the lead for transport.
“The Combined Authority is going to benefit all of West Yorkshire, if we work together we have the potential to take power and money away from London, and Kirklees will have the opportunity to share in that.
“The best example I can give about successful joint working is what we’ve achieve already in skills, working with the LEP we have created 4,000 apprenticeships, that’s over and above what we already had.
“The Authority can bring additional money that Kirklees could not get on its own - this will be the mechanism to really drive growth forward and draw money and power to the region,” Mr Lythgo added.
All West Yorkshire chief executives have taken on extra responsibility, Calderdale chief executive Merran McRae is the lead for economic development and regeneration, with Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield councils sharing investment and finance, skills and a coordination role.
The new board is chaired by Clr Peter Box, Wakefield leader, with Calderdale leader Clr Tim Swift as its vice-chair.
Clr Box said the region had an economy greater than Manchester and Wales, and said: “We are a huge economy and we have huge ambitions.”
Kirklees leader, Clr David Sheard, joked “I think we are bigger than Belgium too”, adding: “Across all politics and politicians there is a will to make this work and that will translate into good democracy.”
Calderdale leader, Clr Tim Swift, said: “We have one in three of people working outside of the district and an equal amount coming into the borough to work.
“Having a strong linked economy is crucial.”
Combined Authority Factfile:
The partnership of 5 West Yorkshire councils and York has greater power over transport, infrastructure and economic growth.
The Authority assumes control of the Integrated Transport Authority (Metro), which is part-funded by the councils.
The panel will work with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board of business leaders and industry experts. Huddersfield University vice-chancellor Bob Cryan sits on the LEP.
No extra allowances are paid for the leaders roles, but they can claim for travel or subsistence. However, co-opted members on Committees or Scrutiny Panels will be eligible for a basic allowance and special responsibility allowances ranging from £29,300 to £1,350.