The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has responded to today’s Government announcement of a Levelling Up whitepaper, praising the plans as being “much needed” and “a welcome commitment to Yorkshire’s future.”

Martin Hathaway, managing director of the Chamber, said: “These plans are ambitious and there is much to be done but I, along with my colleagues, am delighted at this welcome commitment to Yorkshire’s future.

“Firstly, we have been campaigning for some time alongside the British Chambers network, for the provision of skills training in lacking areas so we are thrilled that Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) are forming part of this vital 12-step plan.

“What we really want to see is this whitepaper turned into real funding and local decision making to truly make a difference and not just words that never turn to actions.

“Giving local employer bodies and stakeholders a seat at the table to determine the skills training needed in their areas will enable us to better meet the local labour needs, and ensure that appropriate, necessary training is available where it is most needed.

“The investment to bring local public transport standards closer to those in London is much needed, especially after the downgrading of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

“It is crucial that there are reliable, affordable transport links as well as improved connectivity to better housing, jobs, education and opportunities for everyone.

“The expansion of the Hight Streets Task Force’s remit is also a welcome step to help regenerate declining high streets, providing a welcome boost to jobs, footfall and the overall attractiveness of our Northern towns.

“I look forward to working closely with the Metro Mayor, Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), local authorities and the wider business community to ensure that Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield’s economies, and their people, can benefit from this plan.

“These goals will take time to achieve, and success won’t happen overnight, but this is a strong step in the right direction, committing real action to our region’s long-term success.

“I want to share a clear message that we are committed to making Yorkshire the place to do business in the UK.

“We look forward to working with the Government to ensure that this vision is brought to life.”