Leeds City Council is helping drive the effort to enable the city to prepare for the future during the coronavirus pandemic as it starts conversations with partners around how to create safe work and education places, public spaces and public transport should restrictions be eased.
Today the council’s Leader Cllr Judith Blake and chief executive Tom Riordan joined leaders from organisations across West Yorkshire at the first Economic Recovery Board to get to work on supporting our people and businesses to recover from COVID-19. Wider conversations are also being had with organisations and employers across the city itself.
Councillor Blake said: “The effects of this pandemic are profound and entirely unprecedented and as a city and country we need to work together first and foremost to protect our people from its terrible consequences. As we move forward we must also consider how we live and work as we begin to understand its longer-reaching impact.
“It is likely that we will be living with COVID-19 without a vaccine for an extended period so we are actively planning for two phases of recovery. First, a period where lockdown may be gradually lifted and we open up as a city while also ensuring that people can be confident that our workspaces, public spaces and public transport are safe. This will require very close working with employers and their staff, businesses and the unions, public and education providers and so many others. Then, when a vaccine is available, we need to maximise our chances of building a different, more inclusive, clean and healthy economy that works for everyone.
“Leeds bounced back strongly from the 2008/09 recession which followed the financial crisis and our economy has been resilient in the face of austerity. The impact of COVID-19 is not yet fully understood but it will be deep and more far reaching. I’m confident that Leeds is a resilient city with a diversity of people, opinions and cultures, and our highly collaborative way of getting things done will help us bounce back from this unprecedented economic shock.”
Leeds is the main economic centre for West Yorkshire and the wider City Region, and a driver of growth for the Northern Powerhouse, Yorkshire and the national economy. The council is committed to working with the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, partners across Yorkshire, the Northern Powerhouse and, with central Government to ensure it plays its part in the economic recovery.
The fundamentals of the Leeds economy are still strong. It is at the heart of the United Kingdom and it has a young and growing working age population. Leeds has five universities, and access to culture, sport, food and retail at the heart of a clean and walkable city centre. It also has the benefit of many local innovators, entrepreneurs and social pioneers and a strong culture of putting people first.