THE Labour market of today is very different to previous generations when factory walkers, and others, walked miles to and from their place of employment on a daily basis. They had no option – this era preceded the age of the car and came at a time when public transport was still in its infancy. Yet, while some people reflect on this period of history with a degree of rose-tinted nostalgia, many employees today are compelled by circumstance to commute significant distances every day because this is the only way in which they can provide for their family.
What the latest study by the University of Leeds does demonstrate, however, is the extent to which investment in transport infrastructure –whether it be roads, trains or buses – has not kept pace with rises in population and the increased expectations of a more transient workforce. This is not surprising – research published 24 hours previously by academics from Sheffield University revealed that more money is now being spent on infrastructure improvements, like Crossrail, in the capital than in the rest of England.
The eight years that it is taking to build this 26-mile railway at a cost of £14.8bn is actually quicker than the time it will take to determine how best to improve transport in the heart of Leeds. The contrast could not be more indicative of the North-South divide.
Of course, it would be misguided to solely blame David Cameron’s government for this state of affairs – Britain has paid a heavy price for the short-sighted Beeching cuts of 50 years ago – but these reports demonstrate the need for transport provision, whether it be new stations or facilities for cyclists, to be integral to all future decisions regarding large scale planning applications. Unless this happens, Yorkshire will grind to a halt.
Lost anything Leeds Festival folk?
The items held in ‘lost property’ at Bramham Park after Leeds Festival make for fascinating reading: 96 mobile phones, 172 bank cards, 106 wallets, eight passports, 10 sets of car keys.
Clearly quite a number of unfortunates must have found themselves in a whole lot of bother when they got home. We can only imagine - and cringe on their behalf.