Dear Colleagues and friends,
What a year this has been for our region. Events like Black Wednesday and foot and mouth were awful times to live through but I’ve never experienced anything that has created such a drawn-out impact on not just our economy, but also our physical, mental, educational and social well-being.
The speed the pandemic took hold on our daily lives was a massive shock. It was a big jolt to the system and I think our team at the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership responded with a real drive to get things done. Of crucial importance in their response, was the strong partnership working that has taken place with you, all of our partners. Working together, we have ensured the best possible regional response to the pandemic. On behalf of the LEP, I would like to extend to you all our genuine thanks for your support and collaboration through these incredibly challenging times. It shows the ‘can do’ attitude this part of the world is renowned for.
Looking ahead to 2021, devolution is an absolute no-brainer. It’s a tremendous opportunity, with £2.4bn of asks covering green economy, infrastructure, skills, people, business, and more. What that could do for this region would be phenomenal. I truly hope that this is progressed and that working together we can deliver real and impactful progress towards our vision for a greener, fairer stronger York and North Yorkshire.
Throughout 2020, Brexit has been the ghost in the cupboard because of Covid. We enter 2021 on an unsteady footing, and will need to continue our role to support businesses through yet more upheaval and change. I do believe though that across our region, there are many great businesses with huge legacies and they will undoubtedly drive forward and press on.
We’re waiting to see how the Government will decide how future investment will be distributed, but we have to see the announcements made this autumn as a boost for our region. The £4bn levelling up fund provides a great opportunity for York and North Yorkshire to put forward ambitious projects which ensure we grow back greener, fairer and stronger. I believe the LEP can play a big part here. Involvement in large infrastructure projects, such as the £9.8m improvement to the railway between York and Harrogate completed this month, our commitment to skills investment, mapping out ambitious blueprints for our towns with work such as our ‘21st Century Towns’ report, and our drive to be a carbon negative region all point towards that.
This year has been tough, but I believe our economy will progress in 2021 and beyond. The York & North Yorkshire LEP and our Growth Hub are committed to working in partnership with you all to do everything we can to deliver the necessary support needed to help reshape our economy and adapt to what challenges lie ahead. Onwards and upwards!
May I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy and safe New Year.