Thursday, 31 July 2014

Leeds supports new partnership to create jobs and investment outside the South East

Issued in conjunction with the Core Cities group

Leeds has endorsed a new ‘Cities for Business’ partnership launched today which will cover the eight largest urban areas in England.

Cities for Business aims to advise government on growth creation outside the South East, as well as working together on plans to create more jobs and investment and new ideas for supporting local businesses.

City and business leaders from the new partnership have written to the Chancellor, Shadow Chancellor and Chief Secretary to the Treasury in a joint statement calling for new powers and freedoms to create jobs, growth and investment across England’s biggest cities.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council and Chair of the Leeds City Region Investment Panel said:
“There is increasing support across the political spectrum for greater devolution of financial powers away from Whitehall. This was reflected in the Growth Deal agreed by Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership in July 2014.

“For Leeds and the wider city region greater financial freedoms and local control over how our finance is raised and invested can help us join up public services and support jobs and growth. Currently around 95 per cent of all finance raised in a city goes directly to national government coffers, with the money coming back having significant strings attached. Now is the time for greater control for cities over their finances.”

“To provide long-term, sustainable growth and a genuine rebalancing of the national economy, the Growth Deal must be the start and not the end of the further devolution of power and resources to cities and city regions, and so I am delighted with this partnership announcement."

Councillor Jon Collins, Leader Nottingham City Council and Vice Chair, Growth, of Core Cities Cabinet said:
“This is a critical moment for our economy and our cities. As leaders and mayors of big cities we want to do all we can to support our businesses to create growth and jobs, but it often feels like we are doing so with one hand tied behind our backs.

“With greater freedom to generate the right skills in the labour market, more investment and tailored support packages for business, we could do much more. Our urban areas deliver 27 per cent of the English economy, but are still underperforming by international standards. That’s why we have come together with our eight LEPs – which cover wider areas around the Core Cities – to create a distinctive urban voice."

ENDS

Media contact
Alex Linden, Westbourne Communications – alex.linden@westbournecoms.com or 020 3397 1874

Notes to editors
The Core Cities consist of: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The Core Cities recently released a Growth Prospectus which can be read online here.

The Core Cities are a unique and united local authority voice to promote the role of their cities in driving economic growth. They represent the councils of England’s eight largest city economies outside London. The Core Cities Group has a track record of 15 years as a cross party group, led by the City Leaders. For more information please www.corecities.com/.

The new organisation is formed by the Core Cities Cabinet joining with the Chairs of the eight Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) which operate across wider economic areas – city regions - taking in both the Core Cities and many other important towns and cities.

‘CITIES FOR BUSINESS’ JOINT STATEMENT
We are writing to you as business and city leaders from the eight largest economic areas in England outside London. The Core Cities have joined with the eight Local Enterprise Partnerships that cover a wider economic geography, including many other important towns and cities that are critical to this debate. We want to make an offer to this and future Governments.
Join with us in a shared vision for a different urban future, one of stronger growth, more jobs, more investment, with England’s cities able to compete on a level playing field abroad.
Work with us to rebalance the national economy through a new relationship based on trust and empowerment, freeing city and business leaders to create the jobs and growth that both our local economies and the country needs.
To achieve this vision we have today launched ‘Cities for Business’, a 16-strong experienced advisory board formed from cities and business leaders, with the three aims of:
• Advising government on policy to rebalance the economy;
• Working in partnership to create jobs, investment and growth; and
• Developing new thinking to benefit business and our local economies.
Our eight urban areas represent 27% of the nation’s economy, are home to 16 million people and a thriving business base. Yet by international standards, they underperform. The reason for this is clear; we lack the freedom and flexibility to act in the interests of local business, to create local growth, local investment and local jobs for the people and businesses we represent.
We all know that London needs to succeed, but we also need to do more unlock the economic potential of other cities. We have all welcomed the City and Growth Deals. We now need to go a lot further. Devolution is happening for Scotland and Wales. It’s time for more devolution directly to cities, economic powerhouses who together deliver far more for our economy.
Local economies matter; through them we can raise our national output. That relies on a fundamental shift away from centralised government. Instead of cities bidding against each other, we must do more to empower democratic and business leaders to work together, to take on the international competition.
The ‘Cities for Business’ partnership have set out the steps to get us there, which we all support.
• Innovation Growth Hubs in each Core City to support local business and strengthen high-growth high-productivity sectors.
• More local control over skills and employment services so they respond to the current and future needs of local labour markets, and people stand more chance of getting the jobs they train for.
• Freeing up how investment is used, to create better transport and broadband links, to connect our cities and deliver the infrastructure that is fundamental to business growth.
• Tailoring national housing policy to local needs, with more control over how existing investment is deployed.
• Access to cheaper, cleaner energy, supporting local businesses and ending fuel poverty, with cities once again creating the utilities of the future.
Underpinning all the above is the need for greater control over funding, so local people and businesses can make the decisions that are right for them and their place. This is not just a simplistic call for more investment, it is a call for flexibility in decision making, to commission locally, to get solutions closer to the problems.
Freed from central control, we could deliver 1.16 million jobs and add £222 billion to the national economy by 2030. That’s like adding the economy of Denmark to the UK. But unlike other countries, our cities only control about 5% of the total tax raised in them. Tax retained at the local or regional level is 10 times that in Canada, 7.5 in the US, 6 in Germany and 5 times that across the OECD on average.
Government has challenged us to create growth. We ask that Government supports us with the right tools to do the job and we will take the responsibility, get on and deliver private sector growth, stronger visitor economies and the key industry jobs to go with them.
We have formed ‘Cities for Business’ to make this a reality. We ask all three parties to include a commitment to this agenda in their Manifestoes, and to meet with us to discuss this shared vision.
Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
Birmingham City Council
West of England Local Enterprise Partnership Local Enterprise Partnership
Bristol City Council
Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership
Liverpool City Council
Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership
Leeds City Council
Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership
Manchester City Council
D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership
Nottingham City Council
North East Local Enterprise Partnership
Newcastle City Council
Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership
Sheffield City Council

Shisha bars prosecuted


Managers of two shisha bars in the city have been prosecuted for failing to comply with the smoke free legislation.
Mohammed Ali, from Arabyia and Suliman Ahmed from Al Qasa, both on Cross Stamford Street, failed to appear before Leeds Magistrates yesterday. The cases were tried in their absence.
Both were found guilty of allowing shisha to be smoked in an enclosed public space, made illegal by the Health Act 2005.
Ali was fined £1,000, ordered to pay £1,192.50 in costs and a £100 victim surcharge, while a fine of £1,500, costs totalling £1,144 and a victim surcharge of £100 must be paid by Ahmed.
Both shisha bars had received letters in the past relating to smoking indoors, and in October 2013 Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) visited both premises to provide advice on the smoke free legislation and how to comply with the law. The businesses were warned that follow up visits would be made, and if smoking was taking place inside, further action would be taken.
A team including officers from the council’s environmental health team, HM Revenue and Customs, West Yorkshire Trading Standards and supported by West Yorkshire Police made further visits in November 2013.
During these visits officers found shisha smoking taking place inside the premises. HMRC, also seized quantities of shisha from both premises where it could not be proved that duty had been paid.
A further visit was made to Al Qasa in March, where smoking was again taking place inside, and Mr Ahmed was charge with a further offence.
The sentences were passed in the month that a wider 'Keep it out' campaign against illegal tobacco was rolled out through West Yorkshire, where members of the public are invited to anonymously share information about illegal tobacco sales by phoning the Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 number or through www.crimestoppers-uk.org .
Shisha smoking involves inhaling smoke from flavoured tobaccos through a waterpipe and despite misconceptions, shisha caf├ęs are subject to the smoking ban.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment said:
“We are responsible for enforcing the smoking ban and this applies to shisha bars too.
“Many people simply aren’t aware of the harm shisha can cause. Many believe the myth that it’s a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes but that’s simply not true. Smoking shisha poses serious health risks.
“Thanks to the combined efforts of our staff and partners, we can help to educate people about the harm it can cause and, and work with businesses to assist them in complying with the law.
“Where our attempts to work with businesses fail, and they continue to operate outside the law we will have no hesitation in taking further action.”
Authorities are keen to ensure places serving shisha comply with the law and hope to educate people about the effects of smoking with a waterpipe.
The council is supporting a project being run by West Yorkshire Trading Standards and NHS colleagues on niche tobacco, which includes shisha smoking. The project is working with black, minority and ethnic communities in specific locations to make people aware of the health risks.
Advice issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that smoking a shisha pipe for one hour involves inhaling 100 to 200 times the amount of smoke inhaled with just one cigarette.
The WHO advice also dispels the myth that smoking through water renders it safe – even after passing through water, the smoke produced by the pipes contain high levels of toxins.
In reality shisha smoke contains carcinogens in similar levels to ordinary tobacco smoke but, as a consequence of the way the tobacco is burnt, the level of carbon monoxide is much higher.

Notes to editors:
      The Health Act 2006 and its associated Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) regulations 2006 came into effect on 1 July 2007. The legislation prohibits smoking (including shisha smoking) in enclosed and substantially enclosed workplaces and public places.

·        The World Health Organisation advises that:
  1. Using a waterpipe to smoke tobacco poses a serious potential health hazard to smokers and others exposed to the smoke emitted.
  2. Using a waterpipe to smoke is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking.
  3. A typical one hour water pipe smoking session involves inhaling 100 – 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled with one cigarette.
  4. Even after passing through water, smoke produced by a waterpipe contains high levels of toxic compounds including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and carcinogenic chemicals.
  5. Commonly used heat sources such as wood cinders or charcoal are likely to increase health risks because their combustion produces their own toxicants including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and carcinogenic chemicals.
  6. Pregnant women and the foetus are particularly vulnerable when exposed either actively or involuntarily to waterpipe smoke toxicants.
  7. Second-hand smoke from waterpipes is a mixture of tobacco smoke and smoke from the fuel therefore poses a serious risk for non-smokers.
  8. There is no proof that any device or accessory can make waterpipe smoking safer.
  9. Sharing a waterpipe mouthpiece poses a serious risk of transmission of communicable diseases including tuberculosis and hepatitis.
  10. Waterpipe tobacco is often sweetened and flavoured, making it appealing; the sweet smell and taste attracts people, particularly the young, to use waterpipes where they would not otherwise use tobacco.


For media enquiries please contact:
Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3602

ENDS

Warm welcome for Leeds energy plans

Tenants in over 200 Leeds homes can look forward to warmer winters as Leeds City Council brings forward £2.3m plans for bio-mass heating.

The provision of affordable energy efficient heating to 230 properties in the Clyde’s multi-storey blocks and Phil May Court sheltered complex will see existing electric storage heating and hot water being replaced with a state-of-the-art bio-mass heating system using recycled wood pellets. These will provide green energy and give tenants controllable heating and hot water facilities and allow them to monitor and manage their own energy consumption.
Details of this scheme are currently in the final planning stages with contractors due to be appointed before October.
Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel said:
“We’re making considerable investments to make sure our housing is kept in good condition, and part of this investment is targeting less efficient heating systems, replacing them with state of the art bio-mass heating.
Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for cleaner, stronger and safer communities, said
“Energy bills are an increasing drain on people’s pockets and no one likes thinking they can’t afford to keep their house at a decent temperature, choosing between heating and eating. That’s why Leeds City Council is investing in better heating and more energy efficiency for our housing.”
As part of the wider Leeds City Region Green Deal Contract, £1.5m is also due to be invested in energy efficiency improvements such as external insulation, with this work due to commence in September.
Notes for editors:
More information about help with energy efficiency is available at: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Energy-Grants-for-Households.aspx

Issued by:
Phil Morcom,
Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 0244
Email: philip.morcom@leeds.gov.uk