A ‘REVIVAL plan’ has been set out for the region’s recovery from the ravages of Covid-19.

And business organisation the CBI, which has produced the blueprint, says the incoming West Yorkshire mayor must show “vision and ambition” to help lay foundations for long-term prosperity.

According to the CBI, priorities include boosting productivity, attracting fresh investment and tackling skills shortages.

Beckie Hart – the organisation’s Yorkshire and Humber director – says there is currently a 13 per cent productivity gap between West Yorkshire and the rest of the country, which if closed could add £7.9 billion to the region’s economy.

She added: “The newly-elected metro mayor will be entering office at an extremely challenging time.

“Not only will they have to address existing pockets of deprivation and long-standing low productivity, but also the impacts of Covid-19. If done right, however, the size of the prize is significant.

“To turn West Yorkshire into a healthy, productive and thriving region, the metro mayor must develop and champion a strong economic vision. It should consider how to turbo-charge recovery planning and enable businesses to succeed, focusing on key sector strengths that leverage public investment to support the private sector. This should recognise that a strong economy which delivers growth and good jobs can raise living standards and wages for all in the region.

“Success will require renewed partnership. The metro mayor should work collaboratively with businesses, neighbouring authorities, unions and the third sector – as well as all parts of government – to revive and thrive in the future.

“Business is ready to step-up and support in this endeavour, working closely with the metro mayor to develop this economic vision and to embed it across the region.”

The CBI has drawn-up a series of recommendations outlining how businesses and the new mayor, who will be elected in May, can work in tandem to drive recovery.

Measures include promoting the region on a global stage as a great place to live, work and visit to attract investment and boost export opportunities; backing ‘green’ projects and carbon-reduction ambitions, and delivering retraining, re-skilling and job-creation initiatives.