YEP Says: Worry over key player wavering at Leeds Southbank

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The announcement that Burberry is “taking a moment to think through” its plans for a flagship manufacturing and weaving facility in and around Temple Works leaves a question mark over the scheme, the jobs it could bring, and potentially over the wider £350m Southbank development.

Leeds City Council was quick to play down those concerns, but Burberry has confirmed its plans – key to the whole scheme – remain on hold in light of the Brexit vote, despite work being originally due to start on its construction last year.

Burberry Chief finance officer Julie Brown says the company wants to understand how export tariffs from the UK will work once the country leaves the single market – an issue unlikely to be resolved for at least a couple of years as the complex EU departure negotiations take place.

When the Leeds plan was announced, Halifax-born chief executive Christopher Bailey said it would allow the company to remain loyal to its Yorkshire heritage. He is due to be replaced this summer, but Ms Brown said the firm was committed to Yorkshire.

The question is, will June’s election result reassure such businesses that the UK can secure good enough trade agreements when we have to go it alone?