Speaking in the House of Lords' debate on the Institute for Public Policy Research's annual 'State of the North' report, Bishop Nick said that integration and connectivity are essential for the North to thrive.
He warned against speaking of the North as one monolithic place:“The North is very diverse, differentiated and complex”. And he said while Leeds may be thriving with a large manufacturing base, an integrated approach is crucial which takes into account surrounding areas which aren’t doing as well.
He asked, "What are the jobs in Bradford, where 23.6% of the population are under 16?" And he suggested that the issues of low wage economies and house prices in more rural areas of North and West Yorkshire also need addressing: "House prices in rural areas can create a problem of continuity of community – families not being able to stay where they are".
He added: “The purpose of industry, of wealth creation, is not an end in itself but to create a good society. That’s why we need integration”.
He said that while the Northern Power House is often spoken of in terms of east/west connectivity along the M62 corridor, places such as Halifax, Huddersfield, Harrogate and market towns also need to be factored in. He gave the example of Bradford having two train stations that are not joined up, militating against efficient connectivity.
He also paid tribute to some of the “inspiring and dynamic leadership” in local councils in the region covered by the Diocese of Leeds. “Many of whom are being expected to do more and more with less and less”.
The Archbishop of York's speech in the same debate can be found here.