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Osborne - a platform for Yorkshire growth?

Len Tingle | 12:05 UK time, Sunday, 17 October 2010

George Osborne, the Chancellor, interviewed by BBC Yorkshire Political Editor Len Tingle for Look North on the platform of Leeds station

George Osborne tells Len Tingle on BBC's Look North that he plans to boost the Yorkshire economy despite expected cuts in public spending.

With days to go before he announces the results of his strategic spending review George Osborne chose the platform at Leeds station as the back drop for a television interview with me for Look North on how cutbacks in public spending will change Yorkshire's future.

In theory this was because he had a tiny window of time before heading off to deliver a speech at the annual Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards ceremony at a hotel just round the corner.

But it also allowed the Chancellor the perfect opportunity to announce that he has decided to give the go-ahead to £15m of public spending on a new entrance to the same station where we just happened to be standing at the time.

"This is a project designed to help boost economic recovery," he told me.

Leeds station's proposed £15m south entrance

Leeds station's proposed £15m south entrance now to go ahead

"It has received support from the travelling public, city centre residents and local business and will play an important part in the city's economic success."

This announcement, together with news that a £150m project to relieve congestion on the M62 has also been rescued from public spending cutbacks, was in response to my question about how will Yorkshire recover from an expected loss of thousands of civil and local authority jobs over the next four years?

He believes the private sector will thrive and provide employment if given the right sort of platform for growth which limited infrastructure spending could provide.

In fact, that was exactly the thinking of the previous Labour Government.

The spending on the station and the M62 were part of a much longer list of projects for Yorkshire which the Coalition Government froze within days of coming into power.

Some on that list were cancelled immediately- including the controversial loan to Sheffield steelmaker Forgemasters.
Others, like these announced on Look North by the Chancellor, have been "reviewed".

In the days leading up to the announcement of where the cuts are to be made the decision on which ones have survived the cull are being dribbled out.

But it is the silences that are as worrying some people.

So far there has been no mention of the proposed £200m pounds scheme to build and run a trolleybus network in Leeds. A point which has been noted by Metro, the organisation which oversees public transport provision in West Yorkshire.


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