A new way to do business for the city

A NEW approach to boosting business in Wakefield has been launched.

Wakefield Council has set up a Wakefield Enterprise Partnership to create an innovative, private sector-led approach to boost the local economy.

The city is already part of the Leeds City Region's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the newly-created Wakefield Enterprise Partnership will work alongside the LEP to try and build a prosperous and sustainable economy.

Council leader Coun Peter Box said: "Right from the start of the recession in 2008, we took immediate action to work with businesses to keep the district on track.

"Our economic prosperity board is to become a new Wakefield Enterprise Partnership to get the best for this district. We have been working hard for many years to support economic growth and prosperity across the district.

"The creation of the Leeds City Region LEP makes it vital that we achieve better co-ordination and greater efficiencies in our own locality.

"Establishing a Wakefield Enterprise Partnership is major step forward in achieving this.

"We have agreed that the private sector will lead the new partnership to ensure that we are even more responsive to local economic needs.

Bold

"Wakefield has come a long way but we need to be bold and ensure that we are setting the pace in addressing local economic challenges more effectively and to ensure that our priorities reflect the needs of our economy."

The district's development agency, first, holds a number of contracts up to the end of the next year when a decision will be made over its long-term future as a business.

first chair Margaret Wood said: "The Leeds City Region LEP provides the great opportunity to forge new powerful public and private sector partnerships.

"We face some extraordinary challenges ahead and realigning local economic development into a Wakefield Enterprise Partnership would help inject confidence in the business community."

The new initiative was supported by John Horvath, group director of Cedar Court Hotels and Wakefield Economic Prosperity board member.

He said: "We know that first's work has delivered significant economic and commercial benefits to the district over the past ten years.

"The Government has streamlined regional development and business support structures and it is essential that we all work better together; to be leaner and more focused so that we can achieve more with less."

Wakefield Economic Prosperity Board member Stephen Oakes, consultant at leading law firm Chadwick Lawrence, added: "Business must be centre of the new partnership to drive a new wave of growth, and especially to build on the successes which have been achieved through the work of the Economic Prosperity Board and first.

"We need to think and act innovatively to strengthen business in our local economy and to agree priorities for future investment."