Brabin sets out second-term agenda for West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin today sets out her vision for her second term in power by pledging a relentless focus on “delivery, delivery, delivery” as well as reinvigorating the Sure Start programme across the region.

In a speech at a Resolution Foundation event in Bradford this afternoon, the mayor will say this would create a more prosperous region by putting local growth at the heart of her vision to give children the best possible start in life and to support parents to retrain and get back into work.

In addition to improving public transport, reducing violent crime, and building thousands of affordable homes, Tracy Brabin will work with councils to redesign public services including early years, adult skills and employment support.

The Sure Start programme, supporting parents with young children, was originally introduced by the Labour Government in 1998, but over a thousand centres had to close following public spending cuts made since 2010, with councils in West Yorkshire protecting services as best they could.

The mayor is now in discussions with both the Government and the Opposition about how West Yorkshire can achieve this radical move using the powers and funding flexibility provided through deeper devolution.

She will use the single settlement of funding being negotiated as part of deeper devolution to deliver this plan.

Speaking ahead of her speech, Brabin said, “We want to grow our economy and ensure our future prosperity benefits the greatest number of people in all of our communities.

“The important role of childcare in our economy is becoming increasingly clear – supporting children’s development and enabling mums and dads to retrain or get back into work. This will benefit those areas where deprivation is at its highest and opportunity is at its lowest.

“Devolution allows us to be creative in how we address local priorities. That is why I will use the new powers and funding flexibility we’re negotiating to create a Sure Start renaissance across West Yorkshire and ensure a brighter future for all.”

The Mayor’s other key pledges for term two include:

  • Local control of buses and spades in the ground on a tram system
  • A region of learning and creativity with a new skills and training system
  • A plan to reduce serious street violence
  • Increase access to culture and sports for all children
  • 5,000 new affordable homes and a programme to insulate all social homes

She added, “The people of West Yorkshire voted for me to continue to deliver for their region, and that is what I intend to do. “My aim is to create more jobs and opportunities, through a region of learning and creativity, a better-connected region, where everyone has a safe place to call home and where they have access to the best opportunities.

“These things might seem obvious, but if we can get the basics right, we will create a prosperous West Yorkshire that works for all.”