MP for Shipley, Bradford, questions ‘Northern Powerhouse’ focus on Leeds

GOVERNMENT Ministers have been warned an “effective Northern Powerhouse” does not mean West Yorkshire’s contribution should involve basing everything in Leeds.
Shipley MP Philip DaviesShipley MP Philip Davies
Shipley MP Philip Davies

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) wants to close 137 offices and open 13 new regional centres over the next five years, with Leeds picked to house the hub for Yorkshire and the Humber.

But speaking in the Commons, Shipley Conservative MP Philip Davies asked Treasury Minister David Gauke: “Will you accept that basing the HMRC regional hub in Bradford would be cheaper for the taxpayer?

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“Do you accept there is actually a suitable location available in Bradford and there isn’t in Leeds? And do you accept that an effective Northern Powerhouse does not mean basing everything in West Yorkshire in Leeds? Will you think again about this?”

In reply, Mr Gauke said: “You are, as ever, a doughty advocate for the interests of your constituents. The point I’d make to you is this is a regional centre for the whole of the Yorkshire and Humber area.

“In order to retain as many members of staff as possible and reduce redundancy costs, HMRC’s assessment is that Leeds is a better location for those, for example, working in York, Sheffield or Hull where there’s a direct train service to Leeds.”