Tuesday, 18 August 2009

New vision for improving the Leeds economy

A new vision to improve the economic performance of Leeds will be revealed to senior councillors next week.

Produced in a partnership involving Leeds City Council, and other public, private and voluntary sector organisations, the ‘Leeds Agenda for Improved Economic Performance’ sets out a vision to ensure the city develops and continues to grow into a internationally competitive city with a diverse economy. The document will be presented to members of the council’s executive board and if agreed, will then go out to a three month public consultation before being launched early 2010.

The aim of the Agenda is to send out a message to businesses, residents, educational institutions – all those that play a part in developing the Leeds economy - that the city needs skilled people and competitive business who can work together to build a sustainable and inclusive economy, held together by a ‘golden thread’ of diversity, flexibility, innovation, creativity and enterprise.

Councillor Andrew Carter, Leeds City Council executive member with responsibility for city development, said:
“The economy is at the forefront of the public consciousness today and a new agenda setting out Leeds’ approach to economic prosperity is critical to guide future priorities. We need to step back from the news headlines of falling output, rising unemployment and company closures and recognise that Leeds still has a large and functioning economy. Leeds is still very much open for business.

“The purpose of the Agenda is to provide a shared vision and a common message for economic prosperity across the city; to help align resources and prioritise the work that needs to be done in a time of limited resources and partnership working.”

Based on current projections the Leeds economic output is estimated to increase from around £14billion to £18billion. Unemployment in the city has doubled over the past year, but Leeds has had 16 years of continued growth and still has a large and functioning economy supporting half a million jobs. Of the 24,000 currently claiming unemployment benefits, 60% get a job within 3 months of being out of work. The city also has a number of major regeneration and development projects which are either ongoing or planned to start within the next two years.

In the past, Leeds has weathered economic downturns by having a diverse economy, rather than one particular industry, such as manufacturing. The Agenda says Leeds must continue to adapt and develop and build on its diversity as this will stand it in good stead for withstanding the current and future economic downturns.

If agreed by the council’s executive board, following the public consultation and launch of the document next year, the Agenda will then be worked through by the Leeds Economy and Skills Partnership, an inclusive network crossing public, private and third sector organisations with a stake in the economic success of Leeds.

Councillor Barry Anderson, Chair of the Leeds Economy and Skills Partnership, said:
“By working closely together through the Leeds Economy and Skills Partnership we can further develop this agenda and help to move the city away from the current economic difficulties and begin to put in place strong foundations for future growth and development of the city’s economy.

“A crucial part of that process will be delivering a thorough and comprehensive consultation process and also ensuring that we get the three strands that underpin the agenda exactly right. This agenda can help us to increase economic diversity and adaptability in Leeds and ensure that the city is best placed to withstand any future economic difficulties.

I would like to thank our partner organisations who have worked closely with us in developing this agenda and look forward to further collaborative work as we move forward at the Leeds Economy and Skills Partnership meetings.”

The ‘Leeds Agenda for Improved Economic Performance’ will be presented to Leeds City Council’s executive board on the 26 August 2009. Copies of the executive board report and Agenda are available by contacting the council press office on the number below.
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For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

An audience with Barbara Taylor Bradford


Caption: Barbara Taylor Bradford (Courtesy of Larry Marano)

Best-selling novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford will be Breaking The Rules when she appears at The Carriageworks in September.

The Leeds born author is preparing to celebrate 30 bestselling years by returning to Yorkshire, the place where she grew up and started her writing career to do an event organised by Leeds libraries which will coincide with the publication of her latest novel, Breaking the Rules.

The ‘Audience with’ event at The Carriageworks on Saturday 12th September will see Christine Talbot from ITV’s Calendar host an entertaining afternoon, billed as ‘An Audience with Barbara Taylor Bradford.’

Barbara will give an insightful talk about her life and growing up in Yorkshire, her rise to fame and fortune and the family secrets she has discovered along the way.

She will also talk about her amazing novels, to date she has written 25, and share with the audience what it takes to write a worldwide best seller, and how it feels to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her famous debut novel, A Woman of Substance, which features the iconic heroine Emma Harte.

The event will be followed by a lively question and answer session where members of the audience will be able to ask Barbara questions and buy a copy of her latest book, Breaking The Rules, and get it personally signed by the famous author.

Barbara Taylor Bradford said:

“I’m really excited about my trip to Yorkshire. I always get such a warm welcome. I’m particularly looking forward to all of the events and getting a chance to meet old faces and new ones. I’m also planning to do some research for my next book in Ripon while I’m in Yorkshire and can’t wait to get started.”

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“It is great to have an author of such calibre come to Leeds and The Carriageworks to speak about such an illustrious career. I hope Barbara Taylor Bradford enjoys her return visit to the place where she grew up and enjoys the brilliant surroundings and audience that will fill The Carriageworks theatre.”

Tickets for the event are just £2 each and tickets presented at the event will receive a £2 discount on the purchase of Barbara’s Taylor Bradford’s latest novel.

Tickets for the event will be available from The Carriageworks Box office. For further information on The Carriageworks, visit the website at www.carriageworkstheatre.org.uk or call 0113 224 3801


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For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn, Leeds City Council, 0113 247 8285
Email: catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk