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Budget response

Responding to today’s Budget Announcement, Wakefield Council Leader and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair Cllr Peter Box said: “Today’s confirmation of investment in better rail and road links is welcome and I look forward to the government’s ongoing commitment to these and vital local schemes such as the upgrade of the Calder Valley and Leeds, Harrogate to York lines.

Progress

“It is, of course, disappointing the Chancellor made no mention of the progress we have made on the Leeds City Region Devolution Deal and the proposals we have in place, which this week received widespread support from senior local business, further education and higher education leaders.

“However, we will continue working towards securing the right deal for the City Region, which means one that enables us to build upon what we have already done to fuel economic growth and generate new jobs by targeting resources to support local companies and help people gain the skills to meet the needs of both existing and new businesses.

“Getting that right deal in place will enable us to ensure that as UK’s largest functional economic area outside London and the South East, Leeds City Region can make its full contribution to the government’s Northern Powerhouse plans and the nation’s economy.”

Optimistic

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and Combined Authority member said: “While we are naturally disappointed that there was no specific mention of progress towards a Leeds City Region devolution deal in today’s budget, we remain optimistic that a deal can be achieved within the 2017 timescales that other northern regions are working towards.

“As our open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer shows, there is strong appetite locally to get the right deal in place as quickly as possible to ensure the economic progress of Yorkshire is not put at risk.

“The Chancellor’s announcements to progress a new line between Leeds and Manchester, accelerate improvements to the M62 and invest in flood defences, show confidence in the Leeds City Region, which is encouraging as we continue our devolution negotiations with government.

“I look forward to working towards a deal that not only benefits our region, but also the North and the nation as a whole.”

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