The Regional Economic Strategy 2006-2015

The Regional Economic Strategy (RES) is a plan for how Yorkshire & Humber will grow faster and better than its competitors by 2015. It explains what the region needs to do to grow its £87bn economy, how we will do it, and who will be responsible for making it happen.

It provides a set of common priorities for our region, helping businesses, public agencies, voluntary groups and communities to focus their investment and effort on what will really make a difference for Yorkshire & Humber.

How was the RES developed?

It is based on clear evidence—the product of the work and ideas of more than 5,000 people and businesses, who were brought together by Yorkshire Forward.

Who will make the plan happen?

The RES will be delivered by a wide-ranging partnership, made up of businesses, public agencies, politicians and community leaders. The strategy is owned by, and can only be delivered by, the whole region.

Why do we need a RES?

Yorkshire & Humber needs a clear economic strategy. Without such a strategy in the last decades of the 20th century, people and communities suffered the full impact of huge job losses in traditional industries. As a result we have all learnt that we can’t ‘buck the market’—but we can look ahead, to manage the impact of global economic changes all around us. We need high-quality, sustainable growth to maximise long-term benefits for businesses, people and the environment.

What are the goals in this strategy?

We have outlined six main objectives based around the region’s need for:
  • More new businesses that last—we need more business start-ups, and we need to help those new businesses to survive the tougher early years.
  • Competitive businesses—our businesses need to be more able to compete at home and overseas: they will achieve this through innovation and investment.
  • More skilled people—we need to ensure a strong regional bank of talent, of the sort which is valued by employers and which delivers rewards to businesses and individuals.
  • A way to connect people to good jobs—especially in deprived areas, because employment levels make a big difference to communities, to levels of social inclusion, to individuals, and finally to the economy.
  • Better transport, infrastructure and environment—because good, sustainable transport connections encourage inward investment, retain people in the region, and support productivity and competitiveness.
  • Stronger cities, towns and rural communities—because we need to maintain attractive places in which people want to live, work and invest.

10 years is a long time for a plan!

We review how well the region is achieving the RES objectives every 3 years. In-between, we produce the RES Progress Report every year.

How are we progressing on the RES?

5 years into the first RES, the region has achieved a lot. Although further job losses have occurred in manufacturing, we’ve built a stronger, mixed economy which incorporates a service sector. We’re growing faster than our European competitors, and unemployment is at its lowest for 30 years. More people are starting their own businesses. Most of the 2,000 miners who lost their jobs when the Selby coal complex closed are now in work, and many rural businesses survived the shock of foot and mouth as a result of swift, targeted support.

There are new jobs in growing industries like digital media and the financial services. Industries like engineering, chemicals and food are competing internationally, thanks to stronger links with our 9 top-class universities. The Sheffield city region is the UK’s best-performing European Objective 1 area, and accounts for a higher proportion of the UK’s total steel production than it did in the 1960s and ‘70s. The Hull & Humber Ports complex is the largest in the UK. And our Renaissance programme is building strong market towns in rural areas such as North Yorkshire and the East Riding, and delivering bold new visions for towns like Barnsley, Grimsby, Scarborough and Huddersfield.

However, some major challenges remain. The number of people on incapacity benefit remains an issue for the region. Furthermore, just 0.5% of the region’s GVA is invested in R&D. We need to see that figure doubled if we are to meet the national average and stimulate more competitive businesses. Our growth has not been as fast as London and the South-East and we’re working with our neighbours in the North to close this productivity gap. We need to capitalise on the successful 2012 Olympic bid. We want to improve our education and skills performance and connect even more people to jobs, especially those in Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, women returning to work, and people with disabilities. We need greater levels of investment in our transport infrastructure.

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