Responding to a recent report by the Manpower Group, showing over the last year, average annual pay in Yorkshire fell by 0.8 per cent, compared to a 0.6 per cent increase across the UK, West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) Chair Cllr Peter Box said:
“West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) are committed to addressing this growing disparity by generating growth and good-quality jobs as set out in our shared Strategic Economic Plan.
“The LEP’s locally-managed devolved Youth Contract, which identifies 16 to 17 year-old NEETs (not in employment or training) to get them into employment, education or training is already achieving excellent results. Around 85% of young people engaged with the scheme have made further progress compared with the 27% engagement figure for the equivalent national scheme.
“And research carried out with over 3,000 Leeds City Region companies confirms business confidence is on the rise with employment, investment and business growth all increasing.
“We now need to create higher skilled and higher quality jobs by working with businesses and particularly those in key growth sectors, and through the LEP we are working in partnership with schools, colleges, universities and other providers to ensure that local people have the skills they need to access those jobs.”
Councillor Box said that the Combined Authority, its members and its partners also need to continue their role in tackling low pay and backing a living wage as set out in the low pay charter, ‘No Silver Bullet', launched in March of this year.
He said: “By signing up to the Charter, we have committed to ensuring we have all introduced the living wage for our own employees by the end of the 2016/17 financial year. We have also agreed that each of our councils will take a leadership role in encouraging local and regional businesses to do the same.
“Greater local control over schemes that will help local businesses realise their growth ambitions are among the 27 stage-two devolution ‘asks’ we have put to the government. We are also calling for powers to shape and support local skills training and apprenticeship schemes to develop a workforce that can meet the needs of those businesses.”
By working in partnership as councils, with our LEP colleagues and the business community and education and training providers and pursuing these key strands, we can build upon this work that will help to close both the north south gap and closes disparities across our region.”
Download the 'No Silver Bullet' Charter (pdf file 978KB opens in new window).