Yorkshire Dales
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Nick Hill

How Yorkshire finished 2017 getting the job done

With 2017 coming to a close it is now becoming that time where we take a moment and evaluate what has actually happened this past twelve months…which I believe have been quite eventful to say the least.

This year will undoubtedly be remembered for several key political issues.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s sudden General Election, which can only be described as a disastrous election night for the Conservatives; the progress, or lack thereof, in Brexit negotiations and the sexual harassment scandal that has swept through Westminster in the last several months.

As for Yorkshire, the second half of the year has been dominated by the fight for a region-wide devolution deal and the breakdown of the previously agreed £900m South Yorkshire deal.

Now, although it appears that 2017 was tumultuous time in the UK, I wanted to finish off the year by highlighting how Yorkshire is going into 2018 as one of the bright spots in the country for its economic performance, especially in job creation.

Just last month, it was reported that companies based in Yorkshire and the Humber created jobs at a faster pace than any other region in the UK during October. This was a feat that the region achieved for the fourth time in the past six months.

This rate of job creation has no signs of slowing down heading into the new year as it was recently revealed that one of the region’s most recognizable companies, Yorkshire Water, has announced plans to create 300 new jobs as part of a multi-million pound package to become an industry leader in the water sector.

This announcement was compliemented by the news of a luxury holiday company investing £45m to launch a flagship location in Pickering, North Yorkshire in summer 2018. The opening of this new location, which is set to be run by Beyond Escapes, will result in the creation of 250 new jobs for thelocal area.

Most recently, TransPennine Express is also set to create 15 new jobs with a £7m investment in constructing a train servicing depot in Scarborough. The new structure, which is planned to open in summer 2018, will maintain the company’s brand new trains. The 13, brand new five carriage trains will begin running between Scarborough, York, Leeds, Huddersfield, Manchester and Liverpool from late 2018.

The most exciting development for the region, however, is the multi-million pound plans to transform the disused Sheffield ski village and the surrounding area into a brand new sports, leisure and entertainment scheme.

The proposed 48-acre site is set to feature action and adventure sports facilities, including the possibility of an indoor skydiving facility, live music, E-Gaming and virtual-reality hub as well as a restaurants, bars, social spaces, retail and themed accommodation. Costing around £22m to build, the scheme will create an initial 100 new full-time jobs.

Editor’s Analysis

There are so many aspects of the UK’s future that remain uncertain, but I generally believe one of them is not Yorkshire’s economic outlook. As the largest county in the UK, the region’s economy is reportedly worth around £110bn a year, which is twice the size of Wales and larger than several EU countries.

Yorkshire’s tourism sector is worth £7bn alone. Along with its popular national parks, historic landmarks, bustling retail market and being the host of global events such as the Tour de Yorkshire, the region is set to be visited by more and more people in the coming years.

Therefore it isn’t a surprise that there has been a flurry of leisure, travel and hotel developments, such as the ones mentioned above, announced for the coming year.

Throughout 2017 there has always been a question mark surrounding government’s commitment to boosting the Northern economy and creating a Northern Powerhouse, but I believe that it is the companies based in Yorkshire that have the ability to realize the region’s true economic power. The only question that remains for 2018 is if the government can keep up?

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