Friday, 4 July 2014

Statement in response to the Deputy Prime Minister's 'Northern Futures' speech at the Leeds Economic Forum today

Joint statement from:

Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council
Cllr Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council

Here in the North we have been collaborating to build our great cities into an economic powerhouse over two decades. We welcome further high-level recognition that our great northern cities are engines of national growth and the commitment of government to work with us on delivering this.

The support which is being offered to support our ambitions to grow our economies while reforming public services to increase people’s independence and reduce costs is also positive.

Our cities, along with the other Core Cities – England’s largest outside London – have been working closely together for many years to make the case for the greater freedoms and investment which will unleash our full potential of our great cities. We have put forward a series of ambitious ideas and will continue to do so.

We would of course be happy to have constructive conversations with the Deputy Prime Minister and others about how to move this agenda forwards.

However, we would question why this mantle is being taken up now by the DPM with less than 10 months until the General Election when so much more could have been achieved in the last four years.

If this is to be more than words, it is important that we push on with building the northern powerhouse as soon as possible.

Notes to editors: It is worth noting that the Core Cities and their surrounding areas are 27% of the UK economy. London is 22%. They represent the councils of England’s eight largest city economies outside London. For more information please visit

Notification of Grand Départ start time change

The Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) has advised that the start time for the Grand Départ from Leeds on Saturday 5 July will now be 11.05am rather than the previously stated 11:10am. The change is to allow for additional time at Harewood House. The timings will return to those previously listed by the time the competitive element of stage one begins at 12 (noon).


Crowds gather to see elite riders ahead of the Tour de France

Caption: Crowds and elite riders enjoy the atmosphere at the riders' parade last night in Leeds

Crowds of approximately 12,000 gathered along the route of the riders' parade last night to get a first glimpse of the 198 elite riders, before they take their places at the start line of the Grand Départ in Leeds on Saturday 5 July.

The riders including Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish and Alberto Contador made their way down from Leeds University, through Millennium Square and then off to the first direct arena for the team presentation event.

Leeds City Council executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“The riders’ parade and opening ceremony last night was amazing and showcased Leeds and Yorkshire to the world by welcoming the Tour de France in incredible style. The crowds and the atmosphere all along the parade route were fantastic so I’d like to thank everyone who came along or who helped make it happen.

"The teams and riders loved it so it has set the tone perfectly for the sensational and historic events to come tomorrow and over the weekend.”

For further information contact
Cat Lindley, Leeds City Council communications team
Mob: 07712214224