Leeds ‘heading towards full employment’

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Leeds is heading towards “full employment”, a meeting heard.

Members of the council’s joint plans panel discussed a report which said more than 1,400 in Leeds people have been helped into work over the last three years through agreements with developers, known as Section 106 agreements.

During the discussion, it was claimed by an officer from the authority’s employment and skills department that Leeds had a higher working-age employment rate than other areas of the country, and that recruiting individuals to certain roles was becoming difficult. But members of the panel argued that the benefits haven’t been felt in many of the city’s poorest communities.

The officer told the meeting: “I would point to the fact that we are near full employment. Of the working age population in Leeds, 80 per cent are now economically active.

“That is higher than the UK average, so we are finding it difficult to recruit individuals to a number of job roles.”

Burmantofts and Richmond Hill councillor Denise Ragan (Lab) said: “I’m not seeing people in my communities getting those jobs. We need to help people in those communities access those higher paid jobs.”

Coun Asghar Khan (Lab), who also represents Burmantofts and Richmond Hill, said: “I have a concern for East Leeds. The report says local people and local jobs. I see massive developments taking place in the city centre and the inner-city wards are not benefitting.”

When council planning panels approve large new developments, they often do so on the agreement that local people, often from areas of the city with high unemployment, are employed by the developers in entry level jobs or training programmes. This is a Section 106 agreement.