Wednesday, 29 January 2014

English public urged to support team England as the Queen’s Baton comes to Leeds this June

The Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) will come to Leeds on June 12 during its two week journey across England, drumming up support for Team England and celebrating sport as it goes.

The baton is set to visit the city on its journey across England as it marks the run up to the Commonwealth Games, which start in Glasgow on July 23.

The baton will spend the day in Leeds and will visit a number of locations across the city to celebrate the Commonwealth Games and promote participation in sport.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills, said:

“We’re incredibly proud that the Queen’s Baton will be visiting Leeds in June and I’m sure the city will really get behind this exciting event.

“The Commonwealth Games is one of the biggest global sporting events in the world and the visit of the baton, which will travel across 70 countries and territories before arriving in Glasgow, is yet another massive sporting coup for our city.

“With the Grand Depart of the Tour De France and the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2015 too look forward to as well, 2014 really is shaping up to be a landmark year for sport in Leeds.”

During its day in Leeds, the baton is set to visit a number of recognisable venues and will engage with schools, young people and sporting stars.

Commonwealth Games England President Dame Kelly Holmes who won Commonwealth Gold in Manchester in 2002 said:

“Leeds has a huge sporting tradition and I know that public here will support the English athletes at the Games in July.

The QBR is a great chance to both send your backing to the team in Glasgow and have a go at some of the sports that will be available at QBR events.”

The Queen's Baton Relay is the traditional curtain-raiser to the XX Commonwealth Games.

By the time of its arrival in England the baton will have visited 68 nations and territories and covered almost a third of the world’s population. The baton contains a message from the Queen to the Commonwealth that will be read out at the Opening Ceremony of the Glasgow Games.

The Queens Baton Relay in England is supported with National Lottery funding from Sport England.

Its visit to England is the last international leg of the relay before the baton enters Scotland. Each English city or local authority area hosting a day with the baton will organise a series of events, many of which will be open to the public, to celebrate sport and rouse support for the team.

Commonwealth Games England are calling on the English public to greet the baton with messages of support to Team England via @weRengland or the Commonwealth Games England Facebook page OfficialWeAreEngland, and feel motivated to get moving and perhaps try a new sport.

At each event, there will be a small number of batonbearers, specially chosen for their contribution to sport in the local community. More information about the Batonbearers at each event will be announced in the Spring.

On its journey across England the baton will visit Manchester on Saturday May 31, travel to Cheshire (Congleton) before making its way to Sheffield (June 1), Birmingham (June 2), Plymouth and Bristol (June 3), Southampton (June 4), Tonbridge in Kent (June 5), Oxford (June 6), before travelling to London.
The baton will be in London over the weekend of (June 7 and 8) before moving to Suffolk (June 9) starting in Lowestoft. It then travels to Leicester (June 10), Hull (June 11) and Leeds (June 12).

The baton will then go to Newcastle Gateshead (June 13) and on the same day to its final event at Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland.


Notes to Editors

For more information about the Queen’s Baton Relay on its journey through England call Andy Bate, Commonwealth Games England Communications Manager on 07932 102826 or email


Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937

Further details about Queen’s Baton Relay events and how you can engage with the Baton will be published on the Commonwealth Games England website or via @weRengland

The Queen’s Baton Relay will call at the following places on the following dates on its journey through England in 2014:

Day Date Location

1 Saturday 31st May Manchester /Cheshire (Congleton)
2 Sunday 1st June Sheffield
3 Monday 2nd June Birmingham
4 Tuesday 3rd June Plymouth (AM) and Bristol (PM)
5 Wednesday 4th June Southampton
6 Thursday 5th June Kent
7 Friday 6th June Oxford
8 Saturday 7th June London
9 Sunday 8th June London
10 Monday 9th June Suffolk
11 Tuesday 10th June Leicester
12 Wednesday 11th June Hull
13 Thursday 12th June Leeds
14 Friday 13th June Newcastle Gateshead (AM) and Alnwick Castle, Northumberland (PM)

Stars of Yorkshire Festival 2014 raise the roof


Caption: The Yorkshire Festival 2014 being launched at Trinity Leeds (image courtesy of Welcome to Yorkshire)

An exciting flash mob took Trinity Leeds by storm today as the Yorkshire Festival 2014 programme was revealed for the very first time.

Singers, artists and performers joined forces in a glittering spectacle at Europe’s newest shopping complex, to give the public a taste of what to expect.

A carnival snail, woolly bikes, choirs and brass bands emerged from shops to join band Hope & Social on the concourse for a debut performance of the official Yorkshire Festival song, The Big Wide.

They were watched by shoppers and supporters of the Yorkshire Festival 2014, which began its procession from Angelica through the complex to watch the performance en route to Holy Trinity Church.

They are all part of the full programme of events which were announced today for the first time, as the county gears up for Yorkshire Festival 2014 – the first ever to precede the Tour de France in its 111 year history.

The festival is the brainchild of Welcome to Yorkshire and has been backed by Yorkshire Water, Arts Council England and Yorkshire local authorities. Out of almost 400 bids, 47 projects were commissioned (full programme in date order attached) to be officially part of the 100-day festival - which will also include hundreds of fringe events. Highlights include:

Los Angeles-based sculptor Thomas Houseago, from Leeds, has been tasked to create two magnificent, giant sculptures for Leeds city centre and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. These will be his first commissions for his home county and the first ever commissions to be made by the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle.

Phoenix Dance Theatre, in Leeds, will join forces with Scottish public arts charity NVA to create the world’s first Ghost Peloton, led by Phoenix artistic director Sharon Watson and NVA creative director Angus Farquhar. Ghost Peloton incorporates a riding team of 50 road racers, stunt cyclists and large-scale projection of dancers all utilising unique remote controlled light suits to produce a stunning live choreography. Ghost Peloton builds on the worldwide success of Speed of Light, which was first commissioned for the London 2012 Olympics. An appeal has now gone out to Yorkshire cyclists to get involved in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

West Yorkshire Playhouse will host “Beryl” written by TV star Maxine Peake to celebrate the extraordinary sporting achievements of Morley cyclist Beryl Burton. Beryl is a specially commissioned adaptation from Ms Peake’s acclaimed 2012 Radio 4 play and marks her stage writing debut.

Award-winning director Daisy Asquith teams up with cult musician Bill Nelson to create a new film as part of a series of screenings to be shown on 10 outdoor screens in stunning locations across Yorkshire. Tour de Cinema presents fiction and documentary films (including Alan Bennett’s rarely seen BBC film ‘A Day Out’, about a Halifax cycling club; and Jarvis Cocker’s blazing soundtrack for The Big Melt) also in 35 local town halls and city centre big screens.

Young farmers and artists will create eight stunning major land art pieces across South Pennines landscape for Fields of Vision, co-ordinated by Pennine Prospects. This will capture the spirit and impact of the tour on the landscape of Yorkshire

Henrietta Duckworth, the festival’s Executive Producer, said: “Today we wanted to give people a flavour of this brand new arts festival - Yorkshire's a big wide county and we've worked with our world-class artists to create a rich and diverse programme of opportunities and surprises. It's a first for the Grand Départ and a festival of free events across all art-forms. We invite everyone to explore the new, celebrate together and be part of it.”

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The Yorkshire Festival 2014 will be a countywide celebration of arts and culture creating excitement and anticipation in the 100 days before greatest free sporting show on the planet arrives in Yorkshire.”

Richard Flint, Chief Executive of Kelda Group and Yorkshire Water, said: “The Grand Départ goes through the heart of many of our reservoir catchments in north, west and south Yorkshire and we are proud to be supporting Yorkshire Festival 2014 which promotes the terrific talent and beauty our great region has to offer.”

Sarah Maxfield, Director North, Arts Council England said: “Arts Council England is really proud to be supporting the festival. A festival of over 100 days is an ambitious goal but I’m very impressed by the high quality and breadth of the programme which is sure to impress the thousands of visitors from Yorkshire and beyond and will provide a lasting legacy for culture in the North.”

Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, which has co-ordinated local authority support for the festival said: “Yorkshire Festival 2014 will be a spectacular experience with a packed programme celebrating the strength of the arts across the region. On behalf of all the supporting local authorities we are proud to have been involved in its organisation and look forward to its success.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills, said:

"The Yorkshire Festival 2014 is going to provide the perfect build-up to the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, showcasing the very best of the arts and culture in Leeds and the county. The Leeds elements are hugely exciting, from the much-anticipated work of sculpture by Thomas Houseago which will be next to the startline outside Leeds Art Gallery, to the spectacular performances of Ghost Peloton by Pheonix Dance Theatre on the former Tetley Brewery site and Twilight of the Gods by Opera North which are not to be missed.

"Add to that the story of the amazing Beryl Burton being told at West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Tour photography exhibition at the White Cloth Gallery, a famous clock once owned by Marie Antoinette on show at Harewood House and finishing with the Bicyclism exhibition at Leeds City Museum, there really is something for everyone to enjoy as we get ready for the big day on July the fifth."

Visit, Yorkshire Festival on Facebook or follow Yorkshire Festival 2014 on Twitter - @YFest2014

Editors’ Notes:
• Yorkshire Festival 2014 is the first-ever arts festival to precede the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, the world’s biggest annual sporting event
• Yorkshire Festival 2014 will run from 27th March to the 6th July 2014
• Yorkshire Festival 2014 is backed by Welcome to Yorkshire, Yorkshire Water and Arts Council England as well as oLcal Authorities across the county

Over £400m boost for business and local economies

Issued on behalf of Department of Communities and Local Government and the Regional News Network

A £415 million cash injection to back business, boost high streets, create jobs and help local economies thrive was announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles today, as part of the Government’s long term economic plan.

The announcement comprises:

• £300 million to give 300,000 small retail firms £1000 off their next tax bill;
• £100 million to support critical business infrastructure in Enterprise Zones, including more than £8.5 million for Leeds’ Enterprise Zone;
• £15 million to establish new University Enterprise Zones in the eight main UK cities, including Leeds and Sheffield.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

“As part of our long term economic plan, we are backing business and enterprise right across the country, helping town centres and local industries to prosper, and building a stronger economy.

“This money for infrastructure will transform acres of Enterprise Zone land and build a stronger, more competitive business environment that will create up to 3000 jobs for hardworking people across the country.

“While our fully funded £1000 retail discount will make a huge difference to 300,000 of the essential small shops and local traders we find in our town centres across the country.”

Enterprise Zones – infrastructure boost to create up to 3000 jobs for key industries by 2015

Twelve Enterprise Zone bids have been shortlisted to complete critical ‘nuts and bolts’ infrastructure that will turn dormant sites into prime economic land, attracting new businesses and jobs to Harlow, Humber, Leeds, Sheffield, Discovery Park in Kent, Oxford, Daresbury, Alconbury, London’s Royal Docks, the Black Country, Nottingham and the Solent.

In Leeds, the Aire Valley Enterprise Zone is set to receive up to £8.57 million for remediation and infrastructure work that will attract advanced manufacturing and supply chain companies, creating 630 new jobs and delivering over 33,000sqm of new commercial floorspace in the long term.

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) commented:

“We’re delighted to have secured this significant capital grant, which will enable us to take an important step forward in unlocking the potential of the Aire Valley Leeds enterprise zone to create thousands of jobs over the next decade, leverage millions of pounds of additional private investment and provide a focus for inward investment and employment creation across the City Region.

“This is another example of central government placing meaningful investment in local hands to boost the region’s diverse economy and help us play our full role in driving national growth.”

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for development and economy added:

“Today’s announcement is tremendous news. The Council has taken the lead in working proactively with private sector developers and Government to build momentum, accelerate development within the enterprise zone and drive economic growth.

“The funding will lever in up to £30m additional private sector investment, helping to deliver more than 630 jobs and create high quality industrial premises for modern manufacturing and supply chain businesses in Leeds and the wider city region.”

Covering 142 hectares of prime development land, the Aire Valley Enterprise Zone offers the largest opportunity for employment growth within the Leeds City Region, and one of the prime opportunities in the north of England. Fully developed, it has the potential to generate up to 9,500 new jobs by 2025.

A new recycling and energy recovery facility is already under construction. Operational by spring 2016, the 15,330 square metre facility will have the capacity to process up to 214,000 tons of waste a year and generate around 11MW of electricity, enough to power 20,000 homes.

Across the country, the funding for road building, refurbishment, utility supply and land clearance will mean that 3.5 million square metres of land is brought back into use and 124,000 square metres of new commercial floorspace will be created by 2015. In addition 10km of new road and two new bridges will be constructed, reducing congestion for residents and increasing the access to new Enterprise Zone sites for business.

Enterprise Zones have already attracted 250 businesses, secured £1.1 billion of private sector investment and created over 7000 local jobs.

In addition from today universities in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield can bid for part of a £15 million fund to establish University Enterprise Zones. This will strengthen the role of higher education in supporting local growth and innovation.

The funding will also lead to the development of new business spaces within universities. These spaces will host a range of start up, high-tech companies, that can benefit best from universities’ expert knowledge.

High Streets - 300,000 retail businesses get £1000 taken off tax bill in weeks

In a further measure to back business, 300,000 retail businesses are eligible for a new special retail discount, worth £1000.

New guidance for local authorities published today spells out which high street businesses will be entitled to the new discount.

Retail premises are eligible for a £1,000 discount in 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016. These businesses must also be occupied and have a rateable value, used to calculate bills, below £50,000.

Councils should now automatically include the discount in the business rate bills they are sending out shortly so all eligible businesses receive their centrally funded tax break. Business specifically excluded include payday lenders, betting shops and pawn brokers.

This discount can be used on top of other measures announced by the Chancellor, that will come into effect in April, to reduce the tax burden on small business. The measures amount to the biggest package of support in over 20 years.
A £1 billion high street support package was unveiled in December 2013 to support British business. This included:

• capping the annual Retail Price Index (RPI) increase in bills at 2 per cent in 2014 to 2015 - businesses were expecting a 3.2 per cent rise
• extending the doubling of the Small Business Rates Relief to April 2015
• Small business rate relief has also been extended to including small firms taking on an additional second property (for up to a year), helping helping an estimated 3,000 businesses expand;
• a reoccupation discount of 50% off business rates bill for 18 months for new occupants of retail premises previously empty for a year or more
• allowing businesses to pay their bills over 12 months, rather than 10, to help every firm with their monthly cash flow;

Notes to Editor

High Streets

300,000 properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments with a rateable value of £50,000 or less, that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments. The new guidance published today, available here

Enterprise Zones

Enterprise Zones are at the centre of the Government’s ambitious, long term plan to rebalance the economy, achieve strong, lasting growth and widely shared prosperity. They are key to putting the Government’s industrial strategy into action by attracting investment and supporting innovation in new and emerging markets. In total the Government is investing £330 million to support Enterprise Zones to realise their potential as engine rooms of local economies.
Since they opened for business in April 2012 Enterprise Zones have laid firm foundations for success, attracting international companies, building centres of excellence in key industries such as automotive, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy that will ensure that Britain continues to be competitive and successful on a global stage.
All bids announced as shortlisted are ‘in principle’ decisions and areas will be asked to prepare a full business case. The following Zones have been shortlisted to receive:

1. Harlow Enterprise Zone: up to £11.21 million to build 1.2km of new roads and transform vacant land so it is ready for private sector development in 2015. By 2025, the ambition is to deliver 45,000 square metres of new floorspace and 2,300 new jobs in advanced manufacturing, technology and pharmaceuticals.

2. Humber Enterprise Zone: up to £14.94 million to speed up delivery of key infrastructure at Able Marine Energy Park, subject to planning permission. The Humber Energy Estuary is set to become the centre of the global offshore wind industry. The Zone will now be able to create a ‘renewable energy super cluster’. By 2020, 1,300m of quays and 4,100 new jobs should have been created, marking the start of work on a £440m development project.

3. Aire Valley Leeds Enterprise Zone: £8.57 million for remediation and infrastructure work, opening up key sites to attract advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, creating 630 new jobs and delivering over 33,000 square metres of new commercial floorspace in the long term.

4. Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone: up to £14.2 million for Markham Vale, a leading logistics and distribution park off the M1. In the long term, the grant will generate a further £95.7million of private sector investment, create 2,100 jobs and build new access roads, 180,000 sqft of commercial floorspace and unlock a further 33 Ha of land for development.

5. Science Vale, Oxford: up to £7 million to build a 40,000 sqft of highly specialised laboratory and bioscience innovation hub that will create 370 new jobs.

6. Sci-Tech Daresbury Enterprise Zone: up to £3.58 million enabling the build of the new Techspace building. This could double the amount of building space available on the site and ensure it can provide the infrastructure small to medium sized data-intensive companies need.

7. Alconbury Enterprise Zone: up to £5 million for landscaping, demolition, infrastructure, and utility works. These vital improvements will lay the groundwork for high-quality office developments, expected to employ up to 600 people by 2016.

8. London’s Royal Docks Enterprise Zone: up to £12 million to kick-start two world class infrastructure developments. A ground breaking design for a new bridge at Silvertown will link the north and south sides of the docks. The Millennium Mills development will transform an iconic but dilapidated industrial building – stripping out asbestos and making vital structural renovations turning it into an attractive modern work space.

9. The Black Country Enterprise Zone: up to £6.25 million to develop 11 hectares of land at the i54 site. This will include road improvements and abnormal works to bring forward the availability of the remaining development plots to occupiers.

10. The Nottingham Enterprise Zone: up to £5.5 million to unlock the MediPark health science site by decontaminating land, building an access road, enhancing flood protection, and building a new pedestrian footbridge, When complete, the 20,500 sqm project will employ up to 900 people, and develop the next generation of medical innovation.

11. The Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus: up to £7.09 million to unlock the Waterfront's full potential by constructing over 1km of new road and remediating contaminated land.

12. Discovery Park, Sandwich: up to £6.05million for the refurbishment and fitting out of three vacant buildings (or parts of buildings) for employment use.

Read more information on the enterprise zones website and on Local Invest UK.

Issued on behalf of DCLG by Regional News Network. Media inquiries to 0303 444 1201 or