The Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin has marked 100 days in office by spelling out her hopes and ambitions telling how she wants to “make people’s lives a little bit easier.”
The former Batley & Spen Labour MP became the first ever Mayor of West Yorkshire following a landmark devolution deal which transferred significant new powers and money to the region.
Over the past three months, the mayor has started work on her 10 manifesto promises for the next three years. These range from pledging to bring buses back under public control to creating new green jobs for the local economy.
Ms Brabin said: “I am so proud of what we’ve achieved over the past three months. Through West Yorkshire Combined Authority we have now attached funding to every one of my 10 manifesto pledges.
“The team have really hit the ground running and built on their commitment to empowering this region through devolution.
“I am often asked about what I would like to achieve as the first Mayor of West Yorkshire. My answer – to make people’s lives a little bit easier.
“We have all been through so much, especially throughout the pandemic, and I really want to be able to bring about change that people across the region can feel in their day to day lives, whether that be cheaper bus tickets, or access to genuinely affordable homes, or for women and girls to feel safer as they walk our streets.
“There is still a long way to go but I will continue to listen to the people of West Yorkshire, and I’m determined that over the next three years we will deliver more prosperity and greater hope for our fantastic region and ensure a fair and just recovery from Covid that works for everyone.”
Here are some of the mayor’s key pledges and what action she has taken so far:
Bringing buses back under public control
On June 24 the mayor took the first steps in bringing buses back under public control, while unlocking millions of pounds worth of funding to improve services in the meantime. The move will bring cheaper, simpler bus fares, and a more reliable service to the region. In addition, last month the mayor launched the Under 19 Fare Deal for Young People ensuring lower fares for many young people to travel across the region.
Prioritising skills and training
On August 9 the mayor announced a new green jobs taskforce to oversee delivery of over 1,000 green jobs in West Yorkshire.
The Combined Authority also committed £500,000 to begin development of initiatives to support young people aged 16-30 to enable them to improve their skills and to engage with high skilled well-paid jobs in emerging sectors such as green and digital.
The mayor also launched the Employment and Skills Framework which sets out support to help people find new jobs and build new skills in high demand sectors.
A Creative New Deal
On August 10 the mayor announced the creation of a new Culture Committee which will oversee delivery of the ‘Creative New Deal’ with funding worth £500,000.
Building new sustainable homes
At a meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority on July 29, the mayor set out the affordable housing programmes that would meet the target of building 5,000 affordable and sustainable homes, alongside £3.2m of funding from the Devolution Deal to work up the pipeline of affordable and sustainable housing projects.
Championing inclusivity and diversity
Funding was announced for a Fair Work Charter for West Yorkshire, setting the standards expected for good work in the region: reducing in-work poverty, boosting health and wellbeing, and promoting greater economic inclusion for our disadvantaged groups and communities.
On June 24 the mayor also signed the Armed Forces Covenant and has plans to recruit a West Yorkshire Inclusivity Champion to ensure that the region’s recovery benefits all.
Tackling the Climate Emergency
On July 13 the mayor joined the UK 100 as part of the national UK Net Zero Summit, committing the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to focus on climate and clean energy policy, and shifting to 100% clean energy by 2050. In addition, funding was announced for the Net Zero Region Accelerator programme, running to March 2024.
Policing and Crime
On June 18 Alison Lowe was confirmed as the new Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. The mayor secured over £3.5m in funding to support victims across West Yorkshire including programmes to support women and girls’ safety.
Consultation has begun with community groups on how best to keep women and girls safe, and West Yorkshire has placed a bid for funding though the Safer Streets Fund.
In addition, £2 million has been allocated for 25 Independent Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Advisors.
Support local businesses
The mayor has set out plans to refresh the Economic Recovery Plan to ensure the region builds back better from the impact of the Covid pandemic.
Funding, such as the £6m entrepreneurship package of support and £500k to support a scheme development relating to supporting business, have already been announced.
The mayor has also opposed the privatisation of Channel 4 and has lobbied the Government over progress on Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 developments.