Mayor of West Yorkshire reflects on successes and disappointments of first year in office

The Mayor of West Yorkshire has said she will continue to push for more funding for the region as she marks her first year in office.

By Chris Young
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 8:34 am

Tracy Brabin was elected on May 9 2021, and on Monday she reflected on the past year - which has included major disappointments as well as successes.

The role of elected mayor was created as part of the West Yorkshire devolution deal, and the position includes powers over local spending on transport and infrastructure schemes, adult skills, crime and policing and climate policies.

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Tracy Brabin. PIC: Simon Hulme

Ms Brabin pointed to the successes of her first year, including the creation of 500 Green jobs for young people, securing £200m for a West Yorkshire mass transit system and committing a £40m fund to tackle the climate emergency.

Bot the year has also featured some lows – particularly news that the Government would be scrapping much of its planned Northern Powerhouse Rail line, including a high speed rail stop in Bradford, and the Leeds leg of HS2.

And a bid to Government for cash to improve West Yorkshire’s bus services fell massively short. Out of the £168m Ms Brabin bid for, the Government announced it was supplying just £70m.

In a statement to mark a year in power, Mr Brabin pointed out she had launched an enhanced partnership with bus operators to lower fares and improve services, delivered a new Police and Crime Plan with a focus on Women and Girls Safety, funded the Mayor’s Screen Diversity Programme and expanded the number of low earners eligible for free training via the devolved Adult Education Budget.

The Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund has invested over £208,000 into community safety initiatives across the region, with a further £270,000 grant round opening today. It is financed by money recovered the Proceeds of Crime Act within West Yorkshire and offers grants to voluntary, community groups, and partners to provide support for innovative community safety projects.

Ms Brabin said: “One year ago, I was truly proud and honoured to be elected as the first ever Mayor of West Yorkshire.

“On this first anniversary of my election, I would like to once again thank everyone who placed their trust in me. I have never taken this support for granted and never will.

“In the past year, I am grateful to all the partners from the public, private and community sectors who are helping to deliver on the pledges I set out which will make our region an even better place to live and work.

“We have begun to radically overhaul West Yorkshire’s transport networks and are focused on delivering on the £900m of transport funding we’ve secured to improve bus services, cycle routes and make further progress on delivering a mass transit system for the region. We have worked to support our economic recovery from the pandemic and ensure everyone benefits. This of course includes supporting our vibrant creative sector.

“We are making our communities safer for everyone, especially women and girls, and furthered our work to tackle the climate emergency to reach our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2038.

“I can promise the people of West Yorkshire that I will continue working hard to deliver on my priorities and to make our region the best place to live, to work, to raise a family and to start a business.

“West Yorkshire is the Heart of the North, and I will be the strongest possible voice for our region.

“I will continue making the case to government for more funding and more devolved powers so that we can truly level-up our communities and ensure that everyone living here has the opportunity to flourish.”

To mark her first year in office as the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin will make a series of exciting announcements in the coming days. This will relate to the work being done to improve the region’s transport networks, tackling the climate emergency and improving community safety, especially for women and girls.