Yorkshire Forward
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Yorkshire Forward Hits Targets For Growth

Figures released by Government yesterday show that Yorkshire Forward has again exceeded its annual targets for growing Yorkshire and Humber’s economy.

The Regional Development Agency, whose job it is to invest over £357 million in growing Yorkshire’s economy, is assessed by Government every year on its performance in key areas.

Meeting or exceeding its delivery targets since its inception in 1999, the development agency has maintained this record over the past 12 months, creating and safeguarding 25,456 jobs in the region - 13% higher than its target and the highest figure recorded for any of the English regions.

Culminating in the launch of the new Business Link Yorkshire in April 2008, the past year saw Yorkshire Forward help to create 1,231 new businesses in the region and support 29,065 businesses in improving their performance, smashing the target set of 23,575.

Collaboration between businesses and the regions Universities has enabled ground breaking research and technology transfers, several science parks and business incubators in the region. This work has continued with Yorkshire Forward helping 353 businesses to collaborate with universities and benefit from the knowledge base they’ve provided over the past 12 months.

Investment for regeneration developments across the region totalled £271.6m against a target of £210.5m and in working with partners across public and private sectors, Yorkshire Forward has regenerated 88 hectares of brownfield land, beating targets by 8%.

Training and skills development has been kept firmly in the limelight in 2008 with the Governments announcement of this year’s budget. An extra £60 million over the next three years has been made available to provide new opportunities for people to gain the skills needed to enter the labour market, to remain in work, and progress in work.

Yorkshire Forward has this past year, already helped 35,165 people improve their skills and assisted 11,217 people in Yorkshire and Humber to gain employment an improvement of 188% on a target of 3,895.

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Forward comments; “I am delighted that Yorkshire Forward yet again exceeded its core delivery targets for Yorkshire and Humber, maintaining a perfect record for the agency since its inception in 1999.

“The numbers however are just half the story – the real success is the way they are achieved and the impact we have on the ground – and this is testament to the hard work and expertise of our staff and local authority and business partners across the region.”

These figures follow announcements earlier in the year that the RDAs will be expected to achieve greater impact in their regions with smaller budgets in the future and recommendations were made that agencies like Yorkshire Forward must take responsibility for strategic planning activities for their region, in partnership with Local Authorities.

The figures have been released in conjunction with the Yorkshire Forward Annual Report and Accounts, click here to view the full report.

Notes to editors:
Yorkshire Forward
  • Yorkshire Forward is the Regional Development Agency behind the economic regeneration of Yorkshire and Humber. It aims to make a positive difference by investing in jobs, improving towns and cities, and in supporting businesses throughout the region.
  • Yorkshire Forward’s investment across the region is maximised by attracting European Regional Development Funding and the 2007-2013 Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programmes.
  • For further information, images or to arrange an interview, please contact Victoria Wilkinson, Senior Press Officer on 0113 3949904 or on 07736181063 or email victoria.wilkinson@yorkshire-forward.com