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Statement on Convention of the North

The Leader of Leeds City Council and Leeds Innovation Partnership comment on announcements at the Convention of the North

Following a wide range of announcements by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP at today’s Convention of the North and subject to next week’s budget, the Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor James Lewis, said:

“The announcements today are a significant step towards Leeds building on its nationally recognised track record of delivering large-scale infrastructure projects which support regeneration and build economic growth.

“Collaborating with Government and the West Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the work will be driven by our Vision for Leeds and our commitment to Inclusive Growth, aiming to act as a positive driver to tackle poverty and inequality, accelerate housing delivery, and provide more opportunities for everyone who calls Leeds home.

“We welcome that mention was given to bringing Temple Works into public ownership, a crucial step in creating a new home for the British Library in Leeds, together with support for The Royal Armouries and the new National Poetry Centre.

“Equally, we are delighted that a two-and-a-half billion-pound investment will be made for a mass transit system linking Leeds with Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, and Wakefield, together with work to unlock the delivery of 20,000 extra homes in Leeds.

“However, we will need to see the full funding implications before definitive plans can be made, the details of which we hope will be included in next week’s budget.”

The Leeds Innovation Partnership has welcomed news of the final go-ahead for the West Yorkshire Investment Zone with a specific focus on the Leeds Innovation Arc, as well as strengthening our support to entrepreneurs and businesses.

The news represents a significant opportunity for the city and wider region to solidify its position as a leader in digital and health tech. The investment in the area will not only deliver 4,000 new jobs and up to a £13bn economic boost for the region through accelerating our progress with the Leeds Innovation Arc, but also is another step forward for the city’s ambition to deliver innovation that creates a healthier, green and inclusive future for Leeds, the region and across the globe.

Funding of a £27.6m revenue programme will allow us to further invest in the existing innovation support eco-system within the region, strengthening the offer to diverse businesses and entrepreneurs in the health innovation and digital technology space and encouraging greater collaboration with research expertise.

Linda Pollard, Chair, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“News today that WYIZ is moving to the next stage is hugely welcome. This moves us another step closer to realising our collective vision to regenerate this part of Leeds city centre into a vibrant new global destination as part of the government’s levelling up agenda.

“This funding will attract the type of major entrepreneurs and health tech innovators we want to engage in creating a world-class, health tech-driven Innovation Village at the heart of the arc.”

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“This is wonderful news for the city and wider region, and really allows us to start to make a reality of all the hard work we have put into forging plans and ambitions to create our £1.5 billion city centre science park – the Leeds Innovation Arc.

“Home to some of the biggest public and private sector organisations in the North of England, the area will use a whole system approach to bringing everyone together with a shared ambition for our communities and city.”

Dr Martin Stow, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Business Engagement and Enterprise, University of Leeds commented:

We’re delighted with news of this significant investment into the region; it’s a real acknowledgement of West Yorkshire as a thriving innovation ecosystem. We’ve made a great start with initiatives such as Nexus, which has attracted investment of over £100m in its start-up businesses.  It’s crucial that we’re able to continue facilitating the knowledge exchange between clinicians, entrepreneurs, business, and academics by co-locating them at the heart of our Innovation Arc – ultimately supporting economic growth and nurturing the skills and talent required for the future.”


Notes to editors:

The Leeds Innovation Arc is a global destination for people, investment and innovation in one of the UK’s fastest growing and greenest cities with an ecosystem addressing the biggest societal challenges of our time with collaborative, diverse and innovative solutions.

The Innovation Village is one of a series of innovation neighbourhoods that form the Leeds’ Innovation Arc, an area to the west of the city centre formed around the natural anchors or our main universities, the proposed adult and children’s hospitals, and major private sector partners.

The Innovation Arc is already home to some of the most significant innovation assets in the north of England including Nexus at the University of Leeds, a hub for an increasing number of innovative businesses including SeeAI, Itecho Health and Atlas Endoscopy.

For more information visit – Our Vision | Inclusive Growth Leeds

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team