West Yorkshire brings together four metropolitan districts – Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield – together with the core city of Leeds. Located at the centre of the country, at the intersection of the M1 and M62 motorways, it is just two hours from London and 40 minutes from Manchester by train, and within an hour’s drive of three international airports – including Leeds Bradford Airport within the region.
West Yorkshire is at the heart of the Leeds City Region – the UK’s largest economic area outside London.
A population of 3 million and workforce of 1.4 million make this the largest and fastest-growing city region in the North. Contributing one-fifth of the North’s economic output and 5% of England’s, the £62.5 billion Leeds City Region economy plays a significant role in driving northern and national prosperity.
Business and commerce
Once at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, businesses in Leeds City Region are now at the cutting edge of 21st Century commerce and innovation.
119,000 companies are located here, from blue chip companies such as Asda, Siemens, Skybet and DLA Piper to start-ups in a wide variety of sectors. We have more manufacturing jobs in Leeds City Region than anywhere else in the country, and are the country’s largest financial and professional services centre outside the capital.
City Region businesses have bounced back strongly from the global recession. The pace of private sector growth has outstripped the national average; there are now 15% more businesses here than in 2011 and 100,000 more private sector jobs.
Investor confidence is also at an all-time high. In 2015 our region was ranked by EY as the UK’s fastest growing destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) outside London. An estimated £10bn worth of investor development is either on site or in the pipeline, including significant retail and commercial development and three enterprise zones.
Place and quality of life
Ours is a diverse city region, covering over 3,200 square miles of dynamic cities (we have four of them), traditional Yorkshire market and mill towns and picturesque countryside.
Our thriving arts and cultural scene includes Europe’s largest sculpture park (the Yorkshire Sculpture Park), five national museums, award-winning opera and ballet in Leeds (which is bidding to be 2023 European Capital of Culture), two UNESCO world heritage sites, and historic York.
Meanwhile our outdoor spaces – which have inspired the likes of Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, J.M.W. Turner, David Hockney and the Brontes – are deservedly world-renowned. We’re a stone’s throw from three national parks (the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and Peak District) and are establishing a global reputation for major sporting events having played host to the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014 and the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds in June 2016.
This quality of life is matched by affordability: the cost of living in Leeds City Region is lower than many other European cities including Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham. At £230,000 the average detached home here is £80,000 cheaper than the average apartment in London.