Developing the Local Industrial Strategy

In developing our Local Industrial Strategy, we have brought together data and evidence on the City Region and worked with stakeholders and partners to understand what our shared priorities for the City Region should be.

The Local Industrial Strategy is a long-term plan for Leeds City Region, based on facts and data about our local area. It is designed to boost productivity and transform the City Region, building on our strengths, improving people’s skills and helping businesses grow while protecting the environment, so everyone can benefit from a strong economy. 

In developing the strategy, we have brought together evidence on the City Region’s economic performance; examining the City Region’s business environment, how the region’s businesses innovate with new ideas and processes, the make-up of skills across our workforce and the state of the region’s infrastructure. You can view a summary of the key findings below and download the pack here.  


Engaging across the City Region

To make sure that we reflect as broad a range of views and opinions as possible, and to help us identify and refine our priorities, we have engaged with stakeholders and partners across the region, as well as raising awareness of the Local Industrial Strategy via social media, the press and inviting feedback online.

Since beginning of the year, we have held over 40 engagement events, engaging with over 700 people. These include senior business leaders, colleges, universities and think-tanks, researchers and academics, Government officials, councils, community leaders and groups, and cultural groups. 

In late July, we held an open consultation event at Wellington House in Leeds, with 45 people attending from a variety of backgrounds. There was a wide-ranging discussion about the strengths of the City Region and the challenges that need to be addressed through the Local Industrial Strategy.

We also ran an online engagement campaign during August, supported by videos and social media activity, directing users to complete an online survey. In total, the videos were viewed over 1,200 times and our messages were seen by over 4,000 people.

In summary:

  • Organisations see skills, training and development as critical to future inclusive economic growth, with more opportunities for people to build rewarding careers in the region
  • More could be done to increase business research and development, to build on and take advantage of existing strengths around innovation and ideas
  • Attracting and retaining young workers into skilled manufacturing roles was also highlighted as an issue
  • They see the region’s manufacturing heritage and specialisms in textiles, food and drink and advanced engineering as a strength and opportunity to build on
  • Clean growth and the move to becoming a net zero carbon City Region by 2038 provides scope for growth in innovation and technology-driven sectors, as well as opportunities for re-engineering and re-designing systems
  • Individuals suggest investment in transport infrastructure, making sure opportunities are available to all and the number of low-paid jobs in the region are their major concerns 
  • Individuals recognised the region’s potential to offer a fantastic quality of life, with a strong natural and cultural offer, but noted there was more to do to protect the environment and encourage active and healthy lifestyles

Engaging with young people 

We have also held sessions to understand what young people think and the changes they would like to see across the region, with more planned for schools and youth groups to discuss the emerging priorities. 

The young people we have spoken to want to play a crucial part in any change that will impact on their future. They were passionate about inequality, the environment, the potential risks and benefits of new technology like AI and the skills they would need for the changing world of work, and had a strong sense of and vision for the place where they lived.  

By engaging with this wide and diverse range of individuals and organisations, we have been able to test our evidence and make sure that we have identified the issues that matter most - and have the potential to make the biggest difference - to the City Region.

Expert Panel 

To help us develop the Local Industrial Strategy, working with the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, we have brought together an independent panel of experts from across the UK, including leading thinkers from academia, business, and the public, voluntary and community sectors.  

The panel is reviewing the evidence base we have created, providing us with independent expert advice on what should be our priorities when designing policies and helping to understand how they might impact the region’s economy. 

To enhance our understanding where there has been a gap in the knowledge base, we have also commissioned external research  to examine the underlying causes of the City Region’s productivity gap, innovation, clean and inclusive growth, and a detailed look at two of our key sectors – health technology and clean technology.  

We are also participating in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP) with partners from across Leeds City Region, including Leeds City Council, the University of Leeds and business leaders.  

Working alongside cities and regions in developed and emerging markets across the world, MIT REAP is a two-year programme to build an action-based strategy for change. The programme is designed to accelerate economic growth and social progress by harnessing new technology and growing businesses. The insights we gain from MIT REAP will help inform the LIS.  

Our next steps

We’re reviewing and analysing the responses from the consultation activity to understand the issues that matter most to people across the City Region and ensure that the policy proposals we develop reflect the real needs of our economy. 

We will test these emerging priorities with our partners and stakeholders. Businesses and residents will also have an opportunity to have their say on the contents of the LIS during the autumn. The strategy is expected to be published in spring 2020.