New strategy to ensure Leeds economy works for everyone: Inclusive Growth

21 Sep 2023

New strategy to ensure Leeds economy works for everyone


Nine ‘big ideas’ to deliver inclusive growth, focusing on people, place, and productivity, have been agreed by senior councillors this week as part of the next phase of the Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy.

The new strategy provides a framework to 2030 to tackle challenges facing Leeds and meet the council’s Best City Ambitions, including tackling poverty and inequality, poor health and meeting our zero carbon commitments. This builds on the previous successful strategy that helped drive forward inclusive growth in Leeds between 2018 and 2023.

People are the cornerstone of any city’s economy, and a key theme of the strategy outlines the ambition to tackle issues surrounding poverty and inequality, a rapidly changing labour market and ensuring that education and training meets local needs reflecting the approach set out in the Leeds Future Talent Plan, which was launched last year.

Ensuring that places put people first and work for all is the second theme of the strategy. The strategy outlines how the council will invest in places and transport to deliver a sustainable economy and greener future. This will help to connect and strengthen communities by ensuring that city and local centres thrive, and ensuring jobs and homes are delivered in the right place.

This is reflected in the work surrounding the South Leeds Gateway, connecting hospital, health and life science assets at St James University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary through the city centre to Morley, with a linked pipeline of projects worth over £2billion and commitments for over 15,000 new homes.

The final theme focuses on unlocking productivity, enabling business to innovate and grow in the face of change. Delivering the council’s vision for innovation is crucial to ensuring a greener more inclusive future, and the strategy outlines how this will be achieved by backing diverse innovators and entrepreneurs with the potential to create high growth businesses. 

The council will continue to invest in the city’s innovation infrastructure including the Innovation Arc, in order to create a centre of global significance. Unlocking over one million Square feet of innovation space, the arc will draw together entrepreneurs, start-ups and businesses to share ideas and increase access to capital, to accelerate growth.

Businesses will continue to be supported to become more productive and thrive in the face of change, with the strategy also outlining how the council will promote Leeds as a global destination for people to visit, live, work and invest.

Leeds has a thriving digital community, and the strategy outlines how this will be built on, by positioning Leeds as digital city and facilitating growth in the sector, by developing the required infrastructure and talent.

With the power of collaboration as a key principle, the new strategy also builds on the success of the Leeds Anchors Network made up of the city’s largest employers by extending the idea to include Business Anchors.

The Business Anchors network will bring together large business operating in Leeds committed to working together to create growth in our economy that works for everyone.

Despite the challenges of the previous five years, Leeds has already seen success in driving forward inclusive growth. With the previous strategy outlining the council’s ambitions to become the destination of choice for major UK institutions and global companies, which saw the city attracting the new UK Infrastructure Bank, Channel 4, Burberry, and Cognizant all now calling Leeds home.

The strategy is underpinned by the council’s commitment to green the economy and support businesses and the city to be more resilient and continue to thrive, as the city and council works towards Zero carbon.

The Inclusive Growth Strategy 2023-2030 can be viewed here.

Speaking ahead of the strategy's launch Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, said,

“Developing an economy that works for all is crucial to ensuring we can meet the challenges facing Leeds, from tackling poverty and inequality, to meeting the climate emergency.

“Success will require a collective effort from the public, private and third sectors in Leeds working together .I firmly believe in the power of collaboration as shown by our response to the Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crises, which highlights the impact of our ‘Team Leeds’ approach.

“The Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy and its nine ‘big ideas’ will reduce inequality in our city and help to ensure Leeds is a compassionate city with a strong economy that provides opportunities for all, while also playing our part in meeting the climate emergency.”


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team