PLANS for a £4.5bn regional transport system have been backed by the
leader of Kirklees Council. The Leeds City Region Development Programme takes in 11 Yorkshire
councils which have developed a shared vision for boosting jobs and investment. Clr Robert Light said: "Over the last few years Leeds has become a
major national centre for commercial, financial and business investment. "In terms of the regional economy Leeds is the centre for Yorkshire.
All the local authorities within this alliance partnership - and their residents and businesses - will benefit from such regional recognition and it is important we work together to achieve those benefits. "Collectively, the strengths, skills and diversity of the towns and
cities involved in the regional programme puts Yorkshire easily on a par with any other region in the country. "The aim is to build on those strengths and move forward
collectively to benefit from this potential multi-billion-pound investment while continuing to pursue our own economic and investment strategies at local level that complement the wider drive." The Leeds city region has a population of 2.8m and a £45bn economy
supporting about 70,000 businesses and more than 1.4m jobs. The development programme identifies measures which could see the
city region's economy grow to £67bn and facilitate the creation of about 150,000 jobs over the next 10 years. The programme was launched in Halifax to an audience of leaders from
across local government, the business community and other partner organisations. It has been sent to the Government as part of a drive to regenerate
the northern regions. The programme includes measures for improving transport and skills
and developing the science and knowledge base within the city region. The document also highlights future cash that will be needed from
the Government and others if the ambitions outlined in the programme are to be realised.