Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin reflects on her first year in office

Securing a fair, inclusive and lasting economic recovery from the pandemic, improving the region’s public transport system, tackling the climate emergency, putting women and girls' safety at the heart of policing, and boosting culture, arts and the creative industries have been among the key achievements during the Mayor of West Yorkshire’s first year in office.

By Staff Reporter
Monday, 9th May 2022, 3:00 pm

Today (Monday) is the first anniversary of Ms Brabin’s election as the region’s first metro Mayor. Since then and working alongside West Yorkshire’s five local authority leaders and the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, she has:

Supported the creation of more than 500 new green jobs for young people.

Secured £900m to invest in the region’s transport system, including £200m to progress a new mass transit system.

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Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin

Launched an enhanced partnership with bus operators to lower fares and improve services.

Delivered a new Police and Crime Plan with a focus on Women and Girls Safety and secured multi-year funding deals to reduce violence and support victims.

Committed £40m to tackle the climate emergency over the next three years.

Funded the Mayor’s Screen Diversity Programme.

Expanded the number of low earners eligible for free training via the devolved Adult Education Budget.

In addition, Ms Brabin has overseen a major public consultation to help develop a Fair Work Charter for West Yorkshire and launched a process to recruit an Inclusivity Champion, who will support equality of opportunity in all aspects of work and life in the region.

More than 500 new jobs have been created by the Mayor’s Green Jobs taskforce which brings together experts from business, education, and training, as well as the charity and public sectors.

Also, working in partnership with the Combined Authority and local authority leaders, Ms Brabin has secured £900m from Government for a radically improved, sustainable transport system in the region, via the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement.

The recently launched enhanced partnership with bus operators enables the combined authority to work with them to improve local services and is a further step towards delivering the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).

It also aims to increase the number of people travelling by bus to support the region’s goal to become a net-zero economy by 2038; as well as helping connect more people to jobs, training and education.

Improvements to public transport over the last 12 months have also included breaking ground on the new White Rose Train Station, delivering a new "Fare Deal" for young people, capping single fares for under-19s at £1.20, and delivering the UK’s first fully solar-powered Park and Ride facility at Stourton near Leeds.

The Park and Ride will reduce traffic congestion on West Yorkshire’s roads and reduce carbon emissions to help the region reach the net-zero goal.

The Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund has invested more than £208,000 into community safety initiatives across the region, with a further £270,000 grant round opening today.

It is financed by money recovered the Proceeds of Crime Act within West Yorkshire and offers grants to voluntary, community groups, and partners to provide support for innovative community safety projects.

Also, during her first year in office, Ms Brabin has launched the West Yorkshire Climate and Environment plan and committed £40million to tackle the climate emergency over the next three years.

The funding will enable the combined authority to build on pilots such as the RetroFit Hub and the £5m Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, which are helping to retrofit homes so households can stay warm, lower energy bills, use less energy and reduce carbon emissions.

The Mayor’s Screen Diversity Programme was launched to increase the flow of talent into the creative industries by removing barriers which prevent young people finding work in film and TV.

Ms Brabin said: “One year ago, I was truly proud and honoured to be elected as the first ever Mayor of West Yorkshire.

“On this first anniversary of my election, I would like to once again thank everyone who placed their trust in me. I have never taken this support for granted and never will.

“In the past year, I am grateful to all the partners from the public, private and community sectors who are helping to deliver on the pledges I set out which will make our region an even better place to live and work.

“We have begun to radically overhaul West Yorkshire’s transport networks and are focused on delivering on the £900m of transport funding we’ve secured to improve bus services, cycle routes and make further progress on delivering a mass transit system for the region.

"We have worked to support our economic recovery from the pandemic and ensure everyone benefits. This of course includes supporting our vibrant creative sector.

“We are making our communities safer for everyone, especially women and girls, and furthered our work to tackle the climate emergency to reach our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2038.

“I can promise the people of West Yorkshire that I will continue working hard to deliver on my priorities and to make our region the best place to live, to work, to raise a family and to start a business.

“West Yorkshire is the Heart of the North, and I will be the strongest possible voice for our region.

“I will continue making the case to Government for more funding and more devolved powers so that we can truly level-up our communities and ensure that everyone living here has the opportunity to flourish.”

To mark her first year in office as the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Ms Brabin will make a series of announcements in the coming days. This will relate to the work being done to improve the region’s transport networks, tackling the climate emergency and improving community safety, especially for women and girls.