West Yorkshire Mayor sets out her goals to leaders in Calderdale
West Yorkshire Metropolitan Mayor Tracy Brabin set out her aspirations for the region to Calderdale Council’s Cabinet when she visited Halifax this week.
She spoke about the ten pledges she had made for her term of office at the start of Cabinet’s meeting at Halifax Town Hall and said if successful they had to benefit everyone.
“It is really important we are inclusive across West Yorkshire. We only flourish if all of us flourish,” she said.
Ms Brabin, who spent part of her day meeting people in the town accompanied by the council’s Chief Executive, Robin Tuddenham, said councillors had shown their worth during the COVID-19 pandemic – they knew their communities and were not only an invaluable tool for democracy but also, it seemed, for the survival of communities.
“It’s my privilege to be the Metro Mayor of West Yorkshire, 2.3 million people, the first ever woman Metro Mayor in the country and I am very proud that that’s a Yorkshire woman, born and raised here – that means a great deal to me.
“It’s my mission to make West Yorkshire the best place to live in, work in, raise a family and start a business.
“I know you share those values with me,” she said.
Ms Brabin spoke about pledges which include a target of 5,000 affordable homes being built, 1,000 jobs for young people who were, especially BAME people, hardest hit by the pandemic, developing green and technological skills with a commitment to a Digital Academy, a creative new deal and particularly tackling the climate emergency.
Ms Brabin said she had taken on West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner powers, and one of her pledges was to deliver 750 more police, officers and staff.
Following the Sarah Everard case, the safety of women and girls was a big issue across West Yorkshire and was at the heart of recovery from the pandemic, she said.
The climate emergency was key across a range of policy areas, she said, and in tackling it people needed to be creative.
Ms Brabin said a fully integrated transport system with good bus services was a crucial component, one of several measures to get people out of their cars.
“The climate emergency is real – I’m very proud of our councils across West Yorkshire who have accepted and understood that.
“Our commitment to Carbon Zero by 2038, wow, that’s going to be a challenge, but I am determined to support you in your ambitions.
“I was really pleased West Yorkshire Combined Authority was behind me in our commitment to have the enhanced partnership with the bus companies so that we can actually make the bus services better now, today, but also then to investigate the case for public control,” she said.
There are many people who would want to use the bus, who it would make sense for them to use the bus, but did not because it was too expensive or it was not connected, or it did not go at the right time to the right place, said Ms Brabin.
Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said she was pleased to see this commitment to climate change.
Referencing flooding issues increasingly faced by the borough, she said: “The climate emergency is very real.”
Flooding had shaped the borough with its impact on the local economy and people’s lives.
Ms Brabin singled out innovations such as Slow The Flow, which used natural flood management in the Calder Valley to help reduce the impact of flooding.
She had also written to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice demanding a meeting to discuss flooding as he had spoken to the South Yorkshire Mayor about similar.
Leader of Calderdale Council, Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town), who had welcomed her to the meeting, said the council were looking closely about how it’s and the Mayor’s priorities fitted together and would look ensure it got its share of contributions.
Ms Brabin said she aimed to work with other Mayors and cross-party to get the best deals for the region.
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