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All systems go for new West Yorkshire economic powerhouse

The Government has today agreed for West Yorkshire to take responsibility for its own future economic growth and development.

Parliament agreed the establishment of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which will now be responsible for the £1 billion transport investment and £400 million economic investment in the region.

The new body – combining Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield councils, alongside the Leeds City Region LEP - will begin meeting formally straight away to establish how the plans are to be taken forward. It has been meeting as a shadow board since last year.

The CA will have two committees concentrating on the key priorities of transport and economic investment, with a strong role for York City Council through the Investment Committee.

York will act as an observer on transport, while continuing with its own local arrangements. This is to ensure the transport plans for the West Yorkshire and for York are mutually supportive.

The CA is made up of the leaders of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield councils, plus City of York Council, three opposition councillors from across the region, and the chair of the Leeds City Region Economic Partnership.

The body will shape the strategies to drive growth and investment in the region, with powers and funding devolved from government to manage transport and drive economic prosperity with greater local control of the big decisions.

Importantly, the work of both the transport and the investment committees will be closely aligned to ensure a fresh, joined up approach to the whole of transport, investment and the wider economic growth agenda.

Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the Combined Authority and leader of Wakefield Council said: "The formal establishment of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority is an exciting time for West Yorkshire and York. As a Shadow Board, we are determined to get the new arrangements right so all six districts play an equally critical role in driving economic growth across the sub-region. We are confident that government is right to back us and our proposals will achieve this and that Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York will all thrive as a result."

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