NEW powers to improve the transport system must be at the heart of any devolution settlement for Yorkshire, according to the region’s fastest growing companies.
The winners of this year’s Yorkshire Fastest 50 met in Leeds to take part in a Facebook Live broadcast that analysed the strengths and weaknesses of the region’s economy. The Yorkshire Fastest 50 awards, which are organised by the law firm Ward Hadaway and supported by The Yorkshire Post, honour the fast growing firms that are bringing jobs and investment to Yorkshire.
The debate, which was chaired by Greg Wright, The Yorkshire Post’s deputy business editor, featured Jonathan Simpson, the finance director of Pure Retirement, which was the fastest growing large business and overall fastest growing business, Shannon Harvey, the head of technology at Production Park, which won the fastest growing medium-sized business award and Craig Such, the managing director of Azzure IT, which was the fastest growing small business.
Mr Such told the audience; “Transport is a big issue, not only within the region but countrywide. The amount of time that’s lost with delays on public transport or on the road network is a massive cost to us as a business.
“That’s why we’re wanting to use technology to help us overcome that. If there were better transport links that would certainly be of benefit to us.
“Devolution could certainly be one of the answers to try and help us solve the problem. If we look at the region, and some of the transport links and the Trans Pennine rail service which I do use from time to time between Leeds and Manchester; those trains are constantly full at rush hour.”
Mr Such said that devolution could offer a “joined up” approach to dealing with public transport problems.
“If the regions were brought together as one that could make that decision making process easier and provide quicker solutions.”
Mr Simpson said that transport was one of the biggest problems facing his business.
He said: “Someone being able to have the focus on taking the ownership of transport would be helpful. It can take me 45 minutes to get into the centre of Leeds; which is four miles. You can get to London in two hours. It’s a stark contrast.”
However, Mr Harvey said his Wakefield-based business was in a prime position in the UK, and many clients were inclined to visit the firm because it was not based in the heart of London.
He added: “There are so many celebrities coming to West Yorkshire that you would never know were here. These celebrities come to use our facilities.
“We had Arctic Monkeys in last week. We’ve had Robbie Williams, we’ve had Sam Smith, Kylie Minogue; the list is huge. We also get lots of teenagers outside the gates of our business and that’s a big challenge, managing the safety and security of our site.”
The Fastest 50 winners cover a diverse range of sectors.
Pure Retirement is a Leeds-based specialist mortgage lender, Production Park is a live events company based in Wakefield and Azzure IT is an IT business from Sheffield.
The broadcast took place at Ward Hadaway’s Leeds office in Wellington Place and also featured Philip Jordan, a partner from Ward Hadaway.
To watch the full 45 minute broadcast visit https://www.facebook.com/yorkshirepost.newspaper/