So what difference can a Local Council make? Far more than most people realize – including to local employment.
To be precise – 1,230 people got new jobs and 57 young people started apprenticeships – all as part of the new development going on in Leeds, and as a result of the way the Labour Council has handled that.
The projects included the Arena, the Trinity Shopping Centre and the new ASDA store in Middleton.
The jobs came as a result of the way contracts were framed and awarded.
The Labour Council has been using its powers as a contractor, and its role in planning regulations, to make sure not only that jobs are created, but that local people have a real chance of getting them.
So-called Section 106 agreements with developers allow the Council to make requirements of developers as part of the grant of planning permission. The Council has made good use of this power not only to get the jobs development brings, but to point them towards local applicants.
It works a bit like a job guarantee. If the local person has the minimum requirements for the job – in say English and Maths or an HGV license – and if their references check out – then they get the job.
The approach was pioneered in Seacroft with Tescos about 15 years ago, and is working well.
At the same time, the Council’s procurement policy has ensured that on all major projects, apprenticeships must be created.
In addition to this real efforts have been made to improve employability.
So in Middleton, for example, the council also supported 39 local workshops, in which more than a 1000 people got employability skills. This helped ensure that of the 226 new jobs as ASDA, more than 150 went to local residents.
Major development plans in the pipeline mean there’s more of this to come.
Victoria Gate, Thorpe Park and the White Rose Centre have the potential for thousands of new jobs – and the Council will be busy ensuring that local people get a fair crack at all of them.
As these developments make Leeds an ever more exciting place to live, local people are getting the jobs which give them the livelihoods necessary to enjoy their city – an enjoyment which in turn underpins sustainable economic growth.
And thanks to the activities of their Labour Council.
No wonder the Labour party is engaged in a major, bottom-up consultation process – to learn from the experience and activities of Local Councils like Leeds.
No wonder Labour at Westminster is putting in place plans for major devolution of power to Local Authorities like Leeds.
So next time you hear that weary question – what difference can politicians make? Or even worse – what’s the difference between them? – tell them about these Leeds jobs.
Britain Will Be Better with Labour – Leeds Already Is.
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