Seven-year strategy unveiled to ensure city’s economy ‘works for everyone’

Nine “big ideas” to deliver inclusive growth, focusing on people, place, and productivity, have been agreed by senior councillors as part of the next phase of the Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy.

The strategy provides a framework to 2030 to tackle challenges facing Leeds and meet the council’s Best City Ambitions, including tackling poverty and inequality, poor health and meeting zero carbon commitments.

A key theme outlines the ambition to tackle issues surrounding poverty and inequality, a changing labour market and ensuring education and training meets local needs.

Ensuring places put people first and work for all is the second theme of the strategy. It outlines how the council will invest in places and transport to deliver a sustainable economy and greener future.

This will help to connect and strengthen communities by enabling city and local centres to thrive, and making sure jobs and homes are delivered in the right place.

The final theme focuses on unlocking productivity, allowing business to innovate and grow in the face of change.

Delivering the council’s vision for innovation is crucial to ensuring a greener more inclusive future, and the strategy outlines how this will be achieved by backing diverse entrepreneurs with the potential to create high growth businesses.

Leeds City Council says it will continue to invest in the city’s innovation infrastructure including the Innovation Arc.

Unlocking over one million sq ft of innovation space, the arc is intended to draw together entrepreneurs, start-ups and businesses to share ideas and increase access to capital, to accelerate growth.

Councillor James Lewis

Businesses will be supported to become more productive, with the strategy also outlining how the council will promote Leeds as a global destination for people to visit, live, work and invest.

Leeds has a successful digital community, and the strategy explains how this will be built on, by positioning Leeds as a digital city and facilitating growth in the sector, by developing the required infrastructure and talent.

With the power of collaboration as a key principle, the new strategy builds on the success of the Leeds Anchors Network made up of the city’s largest employers by extending the idea to include Business Anchors.

The Business Anchors network will pull together large business operating in Leeds committed to collaborating to create economic growth.

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Developing an economy that works for all is crucial to ensuring we can meet the challenges facing Leeds.

“Success will require a collective effort from the public, private and third sectors in Leeds working together.

“I firmly believe in the power of collaboration as shown by our response to Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crises, which highlights the impact of our ‘Team Leeds’ approach.

“The Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy and its nine ‘big ideas’ will reduce inequality in our city and help ensure Leeds is a compassionate city with a strong economy that provides opportunities for all, while also playing our part in meeting the climate emergency.”